Tulip hopes to repay $140m FCCBs by month end

Running three months behind schedule, enterprise data services provider Tulip Telecom has said it may be able to repay its foreign currency bonds worth $140 million (about Rs 760 crore) by the end of this month.

"We were to repay FCCBs of USD 140 million that has got delayed. However, we have got in-principle approval for finances and as soon as that arrives, we will be in a position to pay the entire FCCB. We are expecting this to happen within this month," Tulip Telecom Chairman and Managing Director H S Bedi told PTI.

Foreign Currency Convertible Bonds (FCCBs) are a loan instrument used to borrow money from overseas markets.

Tulip had issued FCCBs worth USD 140 million in 2007, which came up for redemption in August. For the failure to repay bondholders, Fitch Ratings downgraded Tulip's long-term debt to default.

"Due to the macro-economic environment, some of our clients failed to make payments in time. Add to that the downgrade, which hurt our prospects of getting funds from banks," Bedi said.

Tulip is putting in extra efforts to ensure that the outstandings are cleared speedily, he added.

The company is also working on a turn around strategy. "In the last few months, we are ensuring that we optimise our costs and plug any leakages. We are also in talks with clients who have faltered on payments. Our workforce is led by a team of experts, which will help us grow in the years ahead," he said.

Bedi said the company is also executing some big orders like that from Unique Identification Authority of India ( UIDAI) (for data centre services) and projects under the Re-structured Accelerated Power Development and Reform Programme (R-APDRP) scheme.

"Early this year, we invested about Rs 900 crore in building the world's fourth-largest data centre in Bangalore. We are focusing on managed services. These are huge bets we have made and we are sure that it will start paying up in the days ahead," Bedi said.

He added that he is buying about 2.5 crore shares through convertible warrants for himself at about Rs 80 per share, bringing in almost Rs 200 crore into the company.

"I am one of the biggest believers in my business and my team. Telecom sector as such is a capital intensive business and I am sure with the investments we have made and the focus on various services, we will be back on track soon," he added.

For the quarter ended June 30, 2012, the company's profit stood at Rs 116.36 crore, while its total revenue was Rs 716.50 crore. Its debt equity ratio stood at 1.76.

The percentage of shares pledged (as a per cent of total shareholding of promoter and promoter group) was 55.09 per cent in the said quarter, compared to 16.54 per cent in the year-ago period.

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