regular-article-logo Friday, 02 June 2023

Adviser for telecom merger

Deloitte has been asked to give detailed report within six months to government

Our Special Correspondent New Delhi Published 21.02.23, 01:51 AM
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The Centre has taken another shot at the merger of MTNL and BSNL with the Department of Telecommunication appointing audit and consulting firm Deloitte as a transaction advisor for the exercise.

Sources said Deloitte has been asked to give a detailed report within six months to the government, with options on the merger.


They said the entire exercise could take at least two years.

“No timeline has been set since MTNL would have to be delisted first. The PSU needs to get other clearances including from Sebi. Considering the complexity involved in the process the merger could take at least two years.”

Minister of state for communications Devusinh Chauhan had said in Parliament that BSNL is expected to generate a net profit in the financial year 2026-27 after the implementation of the revival package.

In July last year, the Cabinet cleared a Rs 1.64 lakh crore package for ailing BSNL and MTNL following a Rs 69,000- crore rescue plan in 2019.

In the revival plan, the Centre had offered VRS and proposed debt restructuring by raising sovereign guarantee bonds.

The government offered to allot 4G spectrum and monetise the core and non-core assets.

It also gave it in-principle approval to merge BSNL and MTNL.

MTNL had posted Rs 778- crore loss in the third quarter — earning Rs 329-crore revenue against expenditure of Rs 1,107 crore.

The figure for BSNL is available till the last fiscal: its revenues fell 4 per cent to Rs 16,809 crore, with losses at Rs 6,982 crore. Both BSNL and MTNL have huge debts of around Rs 30,000 crore each.

The PSU expects a 20per cent increase in revenue in the next fiscal with the launch of 4G. The board has recommended the deployment of 1 lakh network sites by Tata Consultancy Services (TCS)-led consortium for its 4G commercial service.

The DoT would now seek clearance from the Group of Ministers (GoM) by early March to further issue a purchase order.

Several attempts have been made to merge the two entities: but the proposals remained on the drawing board because of various reasons including huge debt and opposition from employees.

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