Vodafone Group Chief Read apologises to Indian government

S Ronendra Singh New Delhi | Updated on November 13, 2019

Nicholas Read   -  REUTERS

Says media reports misquoted him; expresses Voda’s continued commitment to India

Vodafone Group has apologised to the Indian government about the comments on some media reports, which the company said misquoted its CEO and added that Vodafone ‘remains invested in India’ as it is a key growth market for the company.

Sources from the government told BusinessLine that government at higher levels showed their displeasure and disapproval on the tone and tenor of the Vodafone Group Chief Executive Officer Nicholas Read’s (Nick Read) comments reported in various media on Wednesday.

In its half yearly results on Tuesday, Read had said that there is ‘significant uncertainties exist in relation to Vodafone-Idea Limited’s (VIL) ability to generate the cash flow that it needs to settle’ and indicated that VIL is destined for a potentially ‘chaotic final act with potential repercussions for India's international standing’.

He also added that India has “unsupportive regulation (and) excessive taxes.” However, in an apology letter to the Telecom and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, Read clarified that such words were ‘misquoted by the media’ present at the event.

“I apologise for the impression that this coverage conveys. However, I wish to put on record that this does not reflect our version. Furthermore, we wish to make clear that there was no Indian media present there (at the event),” he said in the letter.

He said that Vodafone has been engaging in talks with the Indian government and there was a deep desire from the government to help the industry.

“You have my words that Vodafone wishes to continue its long history in India, given the right conditions, and we strongly believe in the potential of the country -- its telecom sector and transformative potential for its citizens. We are closely aligned with the ‘Digital India’ vision,” he said in the letter.

“Communication/ technology holds great potential to transform lives, create jobs and prosperity for all, and we are seeing it in action in ‘Digital India’,” Read added in the letter.

Published on November 13, 2019

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