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NCLAT permits RCOM to sell assets

Author: IANS/Friday, April 6, 2018/Categories: Telecom

NCLAT permits RCOM to sell assets

New Delhi, April 6 - Clearing the decks for selling the complete assets of Reliance Communications, the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) on April 6 vacated the stay on its tower and fiber asset sale.

It has allowed the execution of sale deeds to proceed, directing the sale proceeds to be deposited in an escrow account with the State Bank of India (SBI).

The NCLAT has ordered the final hearing on the matter on April 18, when it will decide on the allocation of proceeds.

"As directed by the Hon'ble Supreme Court, RCOM moved the Hon'ble NCLAT on April 6 for vacation of the stay in relation to sale of its tower and fiber assets. The Hon'ble SC had itself vacated the stay in relation to spectrum, MCNs (media convergence network) and real estate yesterday," a RCOM spokesperson said in a statement.

"By an interim order passed today, the NCLAT has vacated the remaining stay, and allowed execution of sale deeds and deposit of the proceeds with SBI in an escrow account. Based on these orders, RCOM can now proceed with completion of its entire asset monetisation plan, covering spectrum, towers, fiber, MCNs and real estate," the spokesperson added.

The company said it is now very confident of achieving overall debt reduction of around Rs 25,000 crore within the next few weeks.

"Based on legal advice, RCOM believes the claim of the minority investors in the tower and fiber proceeds, which is fully disputed by RCOM, can at best be Rs 200-300 crore," the spokesperson added.

The Supreme Court on Thursday cleared the decks for the sale of its assets, including spectrum, to Reliance Jio Infocomm as it vacated a stay granted by the High Court.

RCOM can also part with its assets involving media convergence network (MCN) and real estate.

A bench comprising Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel and Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman set aside the stay by the Bombay High Court, which had re-affirmed a restriction by the arbitration tribunal on the sale of the company's spectrum and optical fibre assets.

RCOM's plea challenging the High Court stay was supported by the consortium of banks headed by the SBI, which had contended that the sale of spectrum and optical fibre assets would fetch Rs 25,000 crore -- part of Rs 45,000 crore that RCOM owes them.

Reliance Group Chairman Anil Ambani on December 26 said the company has achieved full resolution of RCOM's debt, reducing it by Rs 25,000 crore to Rs 6,000 crore by monetising its assets.

"We have achieved full resolution that involves Reliance Communications exiting strategic debt recast. What we have achieved, in the face of extraordinary challenges, is truly historic and unprecedented in Indian corporate history. RCOM debt will reduce by Rs 25,000 crore. The entire monetisation process to repay debt of lenders will be completed by January-March 2018 in a phased manner," Ambani had said.

Ambani said that in the debt reduction, there would be no write-off for any lender or bondholder. "There will be no conversion of debt to equity as well," Ambani added. Reliance Communications had close to Rs 45,000 crore debt on its books in October 2017, he had said.

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Kavita Giridhar Mallya


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