New Delhi, Sep 17: Vodafone Idea would opt for the equity conversion for interest payout during the moratorium period, resulting in sizable dilution and might restrict potential equity infusion from any financial/strategic investor, analysts said.

Emkay Global Financial Services said in a note that the package, which is focused on annual cash outflow deferral for telcos, provides much-needed relief to VIL.

As per reports, the government could hold anything between 30-70 percent in Vodafone Idea with an equity option offered by the government for converting the company’s dues after a four-year moratorium.

Operators have been given the option to convert their interest dues on the spectrum and AGR payments, after a four-year moratorium, into equity to the government.

Emkay Global said the telecom package, which is focused on annual cash outflow deferral for telcos, provides much-needed relief to VIL.

In addition, it is a forward-looking one, with long-term measures such as the elimination of SUC on future spectrum purchases, a change in AGR definition, and a reduction in bank guarantees.

“The package provides a huge relief to VIL for the next four years as the annual cash outgo toward government dues will reduce from Rs 253 billion starting in FY23E to Rs 31 billion, with an option of converting the same into equity for the government,” the note said.

Although these measures will provide a lifeline for the next four years, the annual payout to the government will increase substantially to Rs 477 billion from FY27E. Our estimates already factor in a 15-18 percent tariff hike in H2FY22, which is essential for VIL to adequately invest in the business to stop the ongoing subscriber losses and comfortably fund interest charges on bank debt.

“We believe VIL would opt for the equity conversion for interest payout during the moratorium period, resulting in sizable dilution and might restrict potential equity infusion from any financial/strategic investor,” the note said.

“We are downgrading Bharti Airtel to Hold from Buy with an unchanged SoTP-based TP of Rs730. This is based on the visibility on VIL’s survival for the next four years, imminent tariff hikes providing the cash-flow support for VIL to invest in the business, which in turn could restrict subscriber losses and the recent rally in Bharti’s stock (up ~38 percent in the last two months),” Emkay said.

“That said, our long-term thesis still favors Bharti as we believe VIL’s survival will be in question once the moratorium ends in FY26-27E. Further, VIL’s inability to invest in 5G, Home broadband, and enterprise businesses will also adversely affect it in the long run. Significantly higher-than-expected tariff hikes and VIL’s failure to bounce back strongly, along with sustained healthy return ratios for the sector, are the key upside risks to our call on Bharti,” it added.

“We believe that Bharti and Jio would not opt for the moratorium as they have a comfortable liquidity position. Additionally, Bharti has recently announced a capital raise as well,” it added.