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RCom Eyes Debt Rejig Exit With ₹13,000 Cr From RJio

Debt-laden Reliance Communications (RCom) expects to receive 13,000 crore in the final tranche of payment from Reliance Jio Infocomm (RJio) in the next few days, enabling it to completely exit the debt-restructuring process.

Of the total, RCom will receive 975 crore, while 12,025 crore will be paid to the 38 secured lenders, including a clutch of public and private sector banks. From the 975 crore, the Anil Ambani group company will have to pay 550 crore to Swedish telecom equipment-maker Ericsson and 230 crore to HSBC Daisy Investments (Mauritius).

The company has cleared all the hurdles, and the payments are due any time soon. If things go well, the final tranche of the payments should come in within the next seven, or a maximum of 10 days,” a source close to the development told BusinessLine.

“This will be the payment for the towers and spectrum. The transactions have reached the final stage,” the source, who declined to be identified prior to a public announcement, said.

RCom now expects to complete spectrum trading without the bank guarantee of 2,900-crore sought by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) as it received an interim stay on Monday from the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT).

Final settlement

Ericsson, which had signed a seven-year deal in 2014 to operate and manage RCom’s nationwide network, had moved Supreme Court. Later, on August 3, the apex court approved the settlement between RCom and Ericsson’s India unit and asked the Anil Ambani-led firm to pay the dues by September 30. With the deadline not met, and RCom seeking a 60-day extension, Ericsson moved the Supreme Court with a contempt-of-court petition last week. The case is coming up for hearing tomorrow.

A separate case filed before National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) on the Ericsson issue, which came up for hearing on Wednesday, has been adjourned. RCom’s final settlement with RJio will be subject to the outcome of both these cases.

HSBC Daisy is a minority investor in Reliance Infratel (RITL) and the company which earlier opposed the sale, later signed a consent deal with RCom on June 15, 2018.

In the first phase, RCom offloaded towers, its India fibre, telecom infrastructure and spectrum in the 850 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz and 2100 MHz. In the second tranche, pan-India 850 MHz and 1800 MHz spectrum were disposed of.

RCom has already received 5,000 crore in two tranches from RJio, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Reliance Industries. In December last year, Mukesh Ambani-led RJio announced plans to acquire RCom’s wireless assets for an undisclosed sum.

The public sector lenders are State Bank of India, Punjab National Bank, IDBI Bank and Bank of Baroda, while YES Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, HDFC Bank, IFCI and Deutsche Bank among others are the private lenders. – The Hindu Business Line

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