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Vodafone-Essar to raise $2.04 bn

BS Reporter  |  Mumbai 

Asim Ghosh

GSM major Vodafone-Essar is planning to raise $2.04 billion (around Rs 10,000 crore) bridge loan to be used for general corporate purposes.

Separately, the company has also announced the retirement of its Managing Director Asim Ghosh, who will be replaced by Marten Pieters, former CEO of Celtel International.

Vodafone-Essar has appointed SBI Capital Markets to raise the funds. SBI Capital Markets has been talking to various public sector banks to raise the amount, sources close to the development said.

The funds will be used for expansion of infrastructure and network, bidding for 3G spectrum and for other general corporate purposes. The funds are proposed to be raised within two months, they added.

When contacted a company spokesperson declined to comment. Vodafone is the third largest operator in the country, with a subscriber base of over 63 million and operations across 21 circles (of the total 22) in the country. Separately, the company said that Ghosh would continue as a non-executive member on the board after his retirement effective March 31.

“We started on a ride in Mumbai in 1998. We never realised then what a roller coaster it would be. Over ten years later today, serving tens of millions of subscribers, with a fabulous team, a great brand, a company with a great future, it's been a ride I wouldn't exchange for anything else! With Marten, the company will be in great hands,” Ghosh said.

Ghosh has confirmed that he would not be joining any other firm.

Essar Group Vice-Chairman and Vodafone Chairman Ravi Ruia said, “Asim did a tremendous job as the CEO. He has led from the front to grow the company in size and stature, and built a strong team comprising the finest talent in the industry. I would like to personally thank him for his contribution to the business and will be counting on his continued guidance to the company as a member of the board. I look forward to working with Marten to build on the strong platform established by Asim.”

First Published: Sat, February 07 2009. 00:59 IST