Reliance Communications (RCom), Anil Ambani-led Reliance Group’s telecom arm, has rushed to the Supreme Court in what could be termed as company’s last ditch attempt to complete the Rs 25,000 crore assets sale deal with Reliance Jio (RJio), according to a report in The Economic Times.
The company had last week approached the Bombay High Court which rejected its plea seeking quashing of an arbitration order in favour of Ericsson, Swedish telecom equipment maker which claims Rs 1,012 crore of dues on RCom.
The plea from RCom in SC is also seen as an effort form the ailing company to avoid going to the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) where it is staring at a bankruptcy proceeding.
RCom owes Rs 45,000 crore to as many as 35 banks which are keen on dragging the company to NCLT if it failed to repay the loans. With the telecom assets sale to RJio, RCom aims to raise Rs 25,000 crore and pare the whopping debt.
The Bombay HC injunction on sale of telecom assets by RCom to RJio without prior permission has led to the Reliance Group knocking on the doors of the apex court, hoping that the top court will clear the decks for assets sale.
RCom promoter Anil Ambani has promised to clear the Rs 45,000 crore within a stipulated time frame. The Rs 25,000 crore mobile assets sale deal with RJio forms part of that exercise which RCom wants to complete before the end the current financial year.
Reliance Jio, telecom arm of Reliance Industries (RIL) promoted by Ambani’s elder brother Mukesh, had in December 2017 clinched the deal with Reliance Group to buy debt laden company’s mobile business, towers and optical fibre network.
In March this year, India’s competition watchdog the Competition Commission of India (CCI), has given its approved to the deal which received a setback in the form Swedish firm approaching an arbitration tribunal and getting a favourable ruling, according to the PTI.
In the same month, the NCLT had given both the RCom and Ericsson one week’s time to find and reach an out of court settlement in the matter wherein Swedish company claims Rs 1,012 crore dues on the Indian company.
In September last year, Ericsson had in a plea sought from NCLT liquidation of the telecom operator to recover Rs 1,150 crore. According to Ericsson, RCom had not paid it for equipment and services for two years, and instead issued only a few post-dated cheques, according to this Economic Times report.