Kumar Mangalam Birla takes huge pay cut as Idea Cellular reports loss

Mumbai: Idea Cellular Ltd’s chairman and non-executive director Kumar Mangalam Birla took just Rs3.30 lakh remuneration for fiscal year 2017 after the company reported its first-ever annual loss. Last year, he took Rs13.15 crore.

The free offerings by Reliance Jio—owned by Mukesh Ambani which started operations in September 2016—has sparked stiff competition among Indian telecom majors which forced Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular to launch cheaper plans. This has hit the revenue and profitability of telecom companies.

Idea reported a loss of Rs831.10 crore in fiscal year 2016-17 against a net profit of Rs2,616.66 crore fiscal year 2015-16. Revenue declined marginally 1.5% to Rs35,278.60 crore.

“In spite of the hyper-competitive scenario and availability of large scale free services from a new entrant, the mobile industry had witnessed unprecedented disruption in the second half of the financial year,” the company said in a notice to BSE.

Managing director Himanshu Kapania got a 13% increase in salary to Rs9.34 crore for the year, while Akshaya Moondra, whole-time director and chief financial officer, got Rs2.33 crore salary, up 12% from a year ago.

The median remuneration of employees in financial year 2016-17 increased by 8%, as compared to the financial year 2015-16, the company said.

At 1.38pm, Idea Cellular was trading at Rs78.45 on the BSE, down 1.2% from previous close, while India’s benchmark Sensex index fell 0.18% to 31,157.85 points.