Idea Cellular’s shares surged 6.6 per cent on Wednesday to hit Rs 83. 95 on Wednesday afternoon on BSE, after reports suggested that over four million shares of the mobile network company changed hands in three block deals on the exchanges. Idea Cellular is all set to hold a meeting on October 12 with creditors and stakeholders to seek their approval on the crucial merger with Vodafone India. Earlier in January, the shares of the company rose by more than 8 per cent on a single day after confirmation of talks for a merger with Vodafone India.
Today’s gain comes as a relief to Idea shareholders, as the shares have shed more than 8.5% in the last one month. The share prices have undergone a steep correction since February when the scrip touched unprecedented levels of Rs 119 amid merger talks. The company is facing intense competition from Reliance Jio, and reported its first ever consolidated net loss of Rs 384 crore in the fiscal third quarter that ended December 31, compared with a net profit of Rs 659 crore in the same quarter a year ago.
Idea Cellular has also come up with a new data plan to counter intense pressure from Reliance Jio. The company is offering 126 GB data at Rs 697 for 84 days, while Jio offers 1 GB data per day for 84 days at Rs 399 including unlimited local and STD calls. Jio also has Rs 349 plan that offers 20 GB data for 56 days.
Earlier, the company had cut mobile voice rates by 10.6% and data prices by about 15% in the Oct-Dec quarter to retain its customers. Revenue declined 3.8% from a year earlier to Rs 8,663 crore during the third quarter, while expenditure rose 10.3% to Rs 8,463 crore, Idea said.