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Liquidity crunch: BSNL slips on clearing vendor dues

According to rough estimates, the company owes around Rs 15,000 crore to various vendors, which include the likes of Nokia, ZTE, UT Starcom, among others. Around 70% of their dues still remain to be paid.

A query sent to BSNL regarding the matter remained unanswered till the time of going to the press.

State-owned BSNL has failed on its commitment to its vendors that it would clear 10% of their dues every month. The company did clear the dues as per this commitment for August and September, but since then has failed to make payments, industry sources told FE.

According to rough estimates, the company owes around Rs 15,000 crore to various vendors, which include the likes of Nokia, ZTE, UT Starcom, among others. Around 70% of their dues still remain to be paid.

A query sent to BSNL regarding the matter remained unanswered till the time of going to the press.

One of the vendors told FE that on being asked about the matter, the BSNL management says that the company is trying to secure loans to clear the dues.

In September, BSNL had raised Rs 8,500 crore through issuance of sovereign bonds. The funds raised were meant to be utilised for retiring debt and meeting the capex requirements. The state-run company has over Rs 20,000 crore debt on its books.

Most of the vendors have in the past written several letters to the firms as well as department of telecommunications (DoT) seeking release of their payments.

A few months ago, industry body COAI had also written to DoT on behalf of the vendors urging that payments be released.

Nokia had once even warned that it would pull out support for maintaining BSNL’s network in the absence of clearance of the dues.

Despite the revival package to the tune of around Rs 70,000 crore announced in October last year, BSNL continues to face liquidity challenges.

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