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Airtel Shares Recover after Plunging 10% on Adverse SC Ruling, Vodafone Still Down 20%

Airtel, Vodafone's shares took a plunge on Wednesday after the Supreme Court upheld the government's tax demands.

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Updated:October 24, 2019, 3:15 PM IST
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Airtel Shares Recover after Plunging 10% on Adverse SC Ruling, Vodafone Still Down 20%
Airtel logo (Image for Representation)

Shares of Bharti Airtel Ltd plunged nearly 10%, while those of Vodafone Idea Ltd dived over 20% in intra-day trade on Thursday, i.e. 24 October, after the Supreme Court rejected the definition of AGR (adjusted gross revenue) as proposed by telecom companies and upheld the government's Rs 92,000 crore tax demand from these operators.

However, Bharti Airtel shares had recovered all its losses to trade in the green by late afternoon. At 2:37 pm, the Bharti Airtel stock was trading at Rs 363.70, up 1.1%, while Vodafone Idea was down 18.6% to Rs 4.60.

Calculation of AGR is important as both spectrum charges and license fees paid to the government are calculated on the basis of this metric. Put simply, any rise in AGR means higher levies to the government.

So, the apex court has ruled that all revenues accruing to telecom companies, except for termination fee and roaming charges, will be a part of the AGR. Telcos, meanwhile, were arguing that non-telecom and non-core revenue should not be a part of the AGR.

According to the department of telecommunications (DoT), Bharti Airtel owes Rs 21,682.13 crore as a license fee to the government, Vodafone Idea owes Rs 19,823.71 crore, while Reliance Communications owes Rs 16,456.47 crore.

The computation of AGR has been a point of contention between the government and the industry for the past 14 years. Both the department of telecommunications and telecom companies have been battling to put forward their case on the computation of AGR at various courts.

The apex court has now made it clear that there would no further litigation on the issue and it would fix a time frame for calculation and payment of dues by the telecom companies.

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