Vodafone plc spends $1.7 billion for hiking stake to 100% in Indian telecom biz

British telecom services provider Vodafone Group plc has spent around $1.7 billion to increase its stake to 100 percent — by buying equity stake of Analjit Singh and Neelu Analjit Singh and Piramal Enterprises — in Vodafone India.

While Vodafone bought the indirect equity of Analjit Singh and Neelu Analjit Singh in March 2014, the transaction with Piramal Enterprises was completed today.

Vodafone India has become the 100 percent subsidiary of Vodafone plc thanks to the government decision – steered by telecom minister Kapil Sibal — to allow 100 percent stake to foreign companies in local telecom operators. This would pave way for telecom consolidation as well.

Recently, Vodafone exited from Verizon Wireless, top American telecoms, making around $130 billion. Vodafone would invest in network upgrade called Project Spring.

Also read: Vodafone signs Verizon Wireless deal for $130 billion

Vittorio Colao, CEO of Vodafone Group, said: “Our business will continue to connect communities and offer the best products and services – from entertainment to our innovative money transfer service, M-Pesa – to enhance the lives of Indians throughout the country.”

Vodafone India hikes stake

Vodafone has already attracted over a million registered customers, enrolled over 50,000 agents and launched M-Pesa in 19 circles.

The telecoms is spreading its presence in India through mobile data offerings as well.

Vodafone in 7 years

Since Vodafone acquired its original interest in India from Hutchison in 2007, its customer base has grown around 550 percent, from 30 million to over 164 million customers. The telecoms is providing employment to nearly 100,000 people directly and indirectly across the country.

Also read: Vodafone India Capex up 12% to Rs 1908 crore, Airtel H1 Capex dip 54%

The mobile operator has more than 7,800 Vodafone stores and mini stores. Its operations support a distribution chain of over 1.6 million small businesses and recharging outlets.

Vodafone is also opening a number of new Angel stores, which are run and managed exclusively by women. Recently, Bharti Airtel, one of the main rivals of Vodafone, achieved 100 company-owned retail shops in India.

Recently, there was wide-spread criticism that Vodafone is sharing mobile subscriber data of its Indian telecom subscribers with British intelligence.

Also read: Vodafone, Verizon share mobile subscriber data with British intelligence

Since 2007, Vodafone has built more than 95,000 base stations – taking the total to over 120,000 units – which has extended coverage to 83 percent of the country.

Though the company is investing heavily in India, Vodafone is still facing a big challenge: $2 billion plus tax obligation. Hope the new government would settle the issue.

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