February 21, 2019

RCom opts for NCLT for debt resolution

03 February 2019, 06:32 | Hattie Nash

Anil Ambani

RCom to go for insolvency as it fails to repay debt

Saddled with a mounting debt of Rs 46,000 crore and unable to sell its spectrum assets to elder brother Mukesh's Reliance Jio, Anil Ambani's debt-laden telecom venture Reliance Communications (RCom) chose to file for insolvency on Friday.

If the NCLT accepts RCom's plea, the company will get bankruptcy protection - a 180-day moratorium (extendable to 90 more days) on repayment of loans.

With this, Reliance Communications joins Aircel in the list of telecom companies that have opted for insolvency.

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"Resolution through NCLT is in the best interests of all stakeholders, ensuring finality, certainty and transparency through a time-bound court approved process", stated RCom on Friday. Recently, RCom faced another setback as the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) had once again rejected its spectrum sale to RJio, owned by his brother Mukesh Ambani, as RJio refused to be held liable for any RCom's past dues.

"The board noted that, despite the passage of over 18 months, lenders have received zero proceeds from the proposed asset-monetisation plans, and the overall debt-resolution process is yet to make any headway", the company said in a statement on Friday.

RCom said "despite the passage of 12 months and over 45 meetings" it has become hard to get "100% approvals and consensus".

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The first priority for RCom, which is credited for democratising telecom services through cheaper offers in early 2000s, is to resolve its over Rs 40,000-crore debt, he had told shareholders at the company's 14th annual general meeting.

The insolvency tribunal named three separate IRPs from RBSA Restructuring Advisors LLP to run RCom and its two units, RTL and Reliance Infratel, as part of the bankruptcy proceedings.

The company said it will seek fast track resolution through the NCL. Reliance Jio, however, declined to take over any past liability of RCom, for which the Department of Telecom may raise a demand in future.

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To recall, a year ago in December, Department of Telecom rejected Rcom and Jio spectrum trading deal as it does not conform to its guidelines. The company also assured to repay ₹230 crore to settle dues of minority shareholder in Reliance Infratel (including HSBC Daisy Investments) in December past year.

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