NCLAT Pushes Ericsson, Reliance Communications to Settle

The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal suggested Reliance Communications and its operational creditor Ericsson resolve their dispute over the latter’s unpaid dues mutually by 3 pm on Wednesday. This suggestion was proffered by the NCLAT bench when in the course of the hearing RCom offered to make an upfront payment of Rs 500 crore to Ericsson against the total claim of Rs 1,600 crore. The NCLAT will further hear the case on Wednesday on RCom’s prayer to stay the National Company Law Tribunal’s order directing to start insolvency proceedings against the company over Ericsson’s plea.

“You know the fate of operational creditors. You may not get even 5%. If you want we would give you time for settlement,” the NCLAT bench said. “If you want, we can allow settlement. Find out ways and means to solve the issue,” the bench added. Ericsson had total dues of Rs 978 crore, which have now rose to Rs 1,600 crore, the counsel appearing for Ericsson said. Making the offer of upfront payment of Rs 500 crore on behalf of RCom, senior advocate Kapil Sibal said that RCom has a total debt of Rs 46,000 crore and Reliance Jio, which is buying RCom’s assets, has offered Rs 17,000 crore of upfront payment along with spectrum dues and transfer of debts.

Ericsson, which had signed a seven-year deal in 2014 to operate and manage RCom’s nationwide telecom network, had alleged that it had not been paid the dues. Last September, the Swedish company had filed a petition in the NCLT’s Mumbai bench seeking liquidation of the telecom operator to recover its dues.

On a separate matter, the appellate tribunal on Tuesday allowed Reliance Infratel to withdraw its petition seeking permission to sell its tower and fibre assets. Counsel appearing for Reliance Infratel informed NCLAT that they have reached settlement with its minority share holder HSBC Daisy Mauritius. – Financial Express

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