In March 2014, Vodafone completed the acquisition of indirect equity interests in VIL held by Analjit Singh and Neelu Analjit Singh, taking its stake to 89.03% of VIL. Today Vodafone acquired the remaining 10.97% of VIL from Piramal Enterprises Limited. The combined cash consideration for both transactions was INR 10,142 crores (£1.0 billion1).
The Foreign Investment Promotion Board approved both acquisitions on 20 February 2014, following receipt of the approval of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs.
CEO of Vodafone Group Vittorio Colao said, “We are delighted to have secured 100% ownership of one of our fastest growing businesses. Vodafone is strongly committed to India and we have invested significantly over many years to bring communications to millions of people for the first time. Our business will continue to connect communities and offer the best products and services – from entertainment to our innovative money transfer service, M-Pesa – to enhance the lives of Indians throughout the country.”
Since Vodafone acquired its original interest in India from Hutchison in 2007, VIL’s customer base has grown around 550%, from 30 million to just over 164 million customers. VIL is a truly pan-Indian business, operating in all 22 circles and providing employment to nearly 100,000 people directly and indirectly across the country.
There are now over 7,800 Vodafone stores and mini stores throughout India and the company’s operations support a distribution chain of over 1.6 million small businesses and recharging outlets. VIL is also opening a number of new “Angel” stores, which are run and managed exclusively by women.
Vodafone continues to invest heavily in its network and since 2007 the company has built more than 95,000 base stations – taking the total to over 120,000 units – which has extended coverage to 83% of the country. In the same period, VIL has contributed over INR 70,000 crores to the Indian Exchequer.
In addition to the rapid roll-out of telecommunications and internet connectivity, VIL has recently launched M-Pesa to bring financial inclusion to the hundreds of millions of Indians who remain unserved or underserved by the established banking system. The service, which enables money to be securely transferred between mobiles, is seeing good take-up and Vodafone has already attracted over a million registered customers, enrolled over 50,000 agents and launched M-Pesa in 19 circles.