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India's Vodafone Idea loss widens to $7 billion on outstanding government dues

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By Reuters
India's Vodafone Idea loss widens to $7 billion on outstanding government dues
FILE PHOTO: A man speaks on his mobile phone as he walks past logos of Vodafone painted on a roadside wall in Kolkata May 20, 2014. REUTERS/Rupak De Chowdhuri   -   Copyright  Rupak De Chowdhuri(Reuters)

NEWDELHI (Reuters) – India’s Vodafone Idea Ltd <VODA.NS> said on Thursday its consolidated net loss in the second quarter widened to 509.22 billion rupees (£5.58 billion), as the company made provisions for potential outstanding payments to the federal government.

The company took a charge of 256.78 billion rupees for the quarter to the end of September after India’s Supreme Court upheld a demand by the telecoms department that wireless carriers pay 920 billion rupees in overdue levies and interest.

Analysts on average expected the company to report a consolidated net loss of 44.22 billion rupees for the quarter, according to Refinitiv data, although those figures did not include the charge.

Ravinder Takkar, managing director and chief executive of Vodafone Idea, said in a statement the company was “in active discussions with the government seeking financial relief” after the ruling.

Vodafone Idea, a combination of the local unit of British Vodafone Group Plc <VOD.L> and billionaire Kumar Mangalam Birla’s Idea Cellular, also said it was in the process of filing a review petition with the Supreme Court.

The wireless carrier had posted a net loss of 49.74 billion rupees a year ago.

The company’s consolidated revenue from operations for the quarter rose 41.4% year-on-year to 108.44 billion rupees.

(Reporting by Sankalp Phartiyal)