Vodafone India sets ball rolling for IPO, appoints Rothschild

Vodafone India sets ball rolling for IPO, appoints Rothschild

New Delhi: UK-based telecom major Vodafone has moved a step further to list its India operations by roping in investment bank NM Rothschild to assist the listing plans.

When contacted the company spokesperson, however, declined to comment.

Sources said Rothschild will assist Vodafone to clear the regulatory hurdles, help in price discovery and valuation, restructure the complicated shareholding pattern and even help appoint the book-runners at a later stage.

Last year, the company had organised in Mumbai a meet of global investors and analysts in which it had disclosed financial and other operational details.

Vodafone India chief executive officer Martin Pieters also made an internal announcement to employees, updating them with the IPO plan.

India is one of the biggest markets for the company. It has nearly 146 million subscribers.

Last year, Vodafone had bought out Indian partner Essar’s 33% stake in the joint venture for $5.4 billion.

That transaction took Vodafone’s ownership to 75.35%, more than the prescribed Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) limit of 74%.

Domestic company Piramal Healthcare picked up a strategic 5.5% in Vodafone for $640 million. The Piramal investment helped Vodafone meet regulatory requirements.

The Vodafone Group entered India in 2007, after buying out Hutchison’s 67% stake in its telecom venture with Essar for $11.2 billion.

For the six months ended 30 September, the operating free cash flow stood at $519 million.

The company also awaits the final ruling in the tax dispute wherein the Income Tax Department had slapped a fine of $2.5 billion on Vodafone.