New Delhi, Apr 18 (PTI) Debt-saddled telecom operator Vodafone Idea Ltd's Rs 18,000 crore follow-on offering (FPO) opened to a modest response on Thursday with just 26 per cent of shares on offer being sought by investors.

Of the 1,260 crore shares on offer, 331.24 crore was subscribed on Thursday, according to information on the BSE.

Also Read | Nestle Row: NCPCR Asks FSSAI To Review Sugar Content in Company's Baby Food Products.

Qualified institutional buyers picked up 61 per cent of their 360 crore shares reserved for them while non-institutional investors sought 28 per cent out of 270 crore shares earmarked for them.

Response from retail investors, who have been offered the biggest chunk, was muted with just 6 per cent of 630 crore shares being picked up.

Also Read | Lok Sabha Elections 2024: BJP Will Hardly Win 12-15 Parliamentary Seats in South India, Says Telangana CM Revanth Reddy.

Shares are being offered in a price band of Rs 10-11 apiece, lower than Rs 13.20 closing price of the share on the BSE on Thursday.

Vodafone Idea sold shares worth Rs 5,400 crore to institutional investors in the first phase earlier this week. Investment firms GQG and Fidelity picked up most of the shares during the anchor book allocation.

The FPO, the largest ever, is to close on April 22.

Prior to this, the largest FPO in the Indian market was a Rs 15,000 crore share-sale by YES Bank in 2020.

The fundraise would give the ailing telco the firepower to improve its positioning in the Indian telecom market, where it currently trails larger rivals such as Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel, by a wide margin.

The funds will also help Vodafone Idea shore up finances for the much-delayed 5G rollout and strengthening 4G services, and payment of vendor dues.

The company had previously said it plans to raise Rs 45,000 crore, via equity and debt, to help expand its 4G network and roll out 5G services.

Of the total FPO proceeds, the company plans to use Rs 12,750 crore for purchase of equipment for the expansion of its network infrastructure by setting up new 4G sites; expanding the capacity of existing 4G sites and for setting up new 5G sites, as per the share sale prospectus.

It will spend Rs 5,720 crore of the Rs 12,750 crore earmarked for network expansion, on setting up its 5G network.

Another Rs 2,175.31 crore will be ustilised for making deferred payments for spectrum.

The rest of the FPO proceeds will be used by the company towards various general corporate purposes such as funding working capital requirements.

(This is an unedited and auto-generated story from Syndicated News feed, LatestLY Staff may not have modified or edited the content body)