Terming the high bids received in spectrum auction as “credit positive” for India, rating agency Moody’s today said proceeds from the sale of airwaves will help the government meet its fiscal deficit target.
“From the sovereign perspective, the direct impact will be on the government’s finances. The revenue raised from the auction will help the government meet its fiscal deficit targets. This is credit positive for the sovereign in the near term, particularly since tax revenue receipts have been lacklustre this fiscal year,” Moody’s Sovereign Risk Group Senior Vice President Atsi Sheth said in a statement.
The fiscal deficit target for 2014-2015 is pegged at 4.1 per cent of GDP and for the next fiscal at 3.9 per cent.
“We expect the government to implement a variety of measures to meet its fiscal deficit targets this year and next. The spectrum auction will generate part of the revenue growth that helps the government meet its target,” Sheth said.
The spectrum auction that concluded yesterday fetched the bids worth Rs 1,09,874.91 crore.
Depending on the band, carriers will have to pay as much as 33 per cent of their final bid within 10 days of the auction’s conclusion and the rest in 10 annual installments starting in 2017. The permits will be valid for 20 years.
“There could be an indirect sovereign impact, through the banking system, from the increase in firms’ leverage related to the bids. However, several other factors will play a role in determining the impact of such leverage on the system, including the sector’s growth and profitability. Therefore, at this time this is an indirect issue from the sovereign perspective,” Sheth said.
The spectrum was sold at about 68 per cent premium, at Rs 1,09,874.91 crore. At the base price fixed by the government, its value was Rs 65,463.40 crore.
About 11 per cent remained unsold which also included 800 Mhz, 1800 Mhz and 2100 Mhz (3G) band.
As per industry chamber Assocham, payment for spectrum won by companies in the auction is expected to push up the debt on telecom operators to about Rs 3.5 lakh crore from current levels of Rs 2.5 lakh crore.