Shares of Grameenphone plunged by 5.56 percent on Sunday as the Supreme Court ordered the company to pay Tk2,000 crore to the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission.
The investors put a large number on sale and the pressure was mounting, making this Sunday bad for Grameenphone shareholders.
Grameenphone shares lost Tk18.4 or 5.58 percent on Sunday. The last price was Tk311.10 per share, compared to Tk329.5 on the previous trading day.
However, the Investor Relation department of the largest mobile phone service operator promptly responded to institutional shareholders' anxiety saying, "We will wait for the written order of the court before making any further comments."
The Appellate Division ordered Grameenphone to pay Tk2,000 crore of a disputed claim of Tk12,580 within the next three months to the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC).
The court also said the two-month injunction on the realisation of the total dues imposed by the High Court would be vacated if Grameenphone fails to pay within the given time.
Floor traders told The Business Standard that despite the adverse Supreme Court order, during the early trading, shareholders had been strongly holding onto Grameenphone shares as they were interpreting the court order as a constructive, and systematic solution of ongoing dispute.
However, as an amount larger than the company's quarterly profit is payable within the next three months, it triggered pessimism among the investors about the company's immediate earnings.
Grameenphone in its statement to the shareholders said, "We reaffirm our commitment to resolve the audit issue by continuing with the jointly committed transparent process towards an amicable resolution with the Honorable ICT Advisor and relevant members of the government."
Grameenphone has one month left to go for a review against the Supreme Court order.
On April 2 last, the telecom regulator demanded Tk12,580 crore from Grameenphone over irregularities, prompting the company to take the matter to court.
The telecom operator filed a case with the lower court, seeking a temporary injunction on realising the money. But the court on August 28 scrapped the plea of Grameenphone, making it file the appeal with the High Court.
On October 17, the High Court bench of Justice AKM Abdul Hakim and Justice Fatima Nazib issued a two-month injunction against the BTRC's move.
Later, the BTRC appealed to the Appellate Division seeking a stay order. On November 18, the Appellate Division set November 24 to pass the order on the petition.
Meantime, the government came up with its decision to appoint administrators at Grameenphone and Robi.
The fate of the Robi will be decided on Monday as the High Court will pass the order on an appeal filed by Robi seeking an injunction on BTRC from realising Tk867.23 crore dues from them.