Vodafone Idea shares plunge 24% a day after Birla's request to step down

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Vodafone Idea shares plunge 24% a day after Birla's request to step down

BENGALURU - Shares of India's Vodafone Idea tumbled as much as 24% on Thursday, a day after the troubled telecom operator board accepted billionaire-industrialist Kumar Mangalam Birla's request to step down as non-executive chairman.

Birla had engineered the merger of Idea Cellular, which was part of his Aditya Birla Group, and the India operations of Vodafone Plc in 2018 to form Vodafone Idea, creating what was the country's largest telecom operator at that time.

Birla, who has a net worth of $14 billion according to Forbes, is being replaced by Vodafone Idea (aditya Birla Group) non-executive chairman Himanshu Kapania said via b/k bit.ly 2 Vt 3 a 65" in a stock exchange filing on Wednesday.

The company declined to comment on why Birla sought to step down, and representatives from the Aditya Birla Group did not immediately respond to an email from Reuters.

Adding to Vodafone's woes, the Indian government sought roughly $13 billion from the country's telecom operators in dues owed for the use of airwaves and as licence fees. Vodafone owed the majority share.

The top court of India last year gave telecom companies 10 years to appeal over the missing January deadline. Last month, the court rejected a plea by mobile carriers seeking corrections of what they called errors in the government's calculations of dues.

Vodafone's shares were down 20.8% in 4.75 rupees as of 0439 GMT and have hit their highest level since May 15th, 2020 at session low Airtel's share got 1.30% as company gained 3.4%.