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Malaysia's Axiata exits Vodafone Idea, latest foreign investor to leave India

2020-08-21 10:30:14


Axiata Group Berhad has sold its residual stake in Vodafone Idea (VIL) and exited India’s telecom sector, having taken a substantial hit on its investments after a high-profile entry more than a decade ago.


The Malaysian telco's exit leaves only SingTel and Vodafone Group from among the old-time foreign investors in the debt-laden sector. Intense competition exacerbated by Reliance Jio’s entry in September 2016 with free voice calls and dirt-cheap data rates has already forced foreign carriers such as Norway’s Telenor, Russia’s Sistema JSFC, Japan’s NTT DoCoMo and Malaysia’s Maxis to exit the Indian telecom market.


Axiata had entered erstwhile the Idea Cellular back in 2008, splurging nearly $2 billion for a 20% stake in the carrier. It has seen the value of its holding plunge sharply over time, initially with Idea and then with Vodafone Idea, which has also seen its market-cap fall sharply and net worth shrink. Huge losses in the face of intense competition in the Indian telecom market, aggravated further by the adjusted gross revenue (AGR) dues crisis, have pushed VIL to the brink. 

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