Maxis gives ₹95 crore to Aircel to pay staff salary

Rajesh Kurup Mumbai | Updated on April 01, 2018

In Feb, Malaysian parent firm had stopped all funding to embattled telco

In a goodwill gesture, Malaysia’s Maxis Communications has infused an additional ₹95 crore in Aircel to enable the beleaguered telecom operator pay salaries of nearly 4,000 employees and certain expenses.

The move comes as a surprise as Maxis, which had invested $7 billion with “zero returns” in Aircel, had earlier decided not to make further investments. Aircel had then filed for bankruptcy protection with the National Company Law Tribunal’s Mumbai Bench in February.

The fresh funding will be made through Global Communication Services Holdings (GCSH), Maxis’ Mauritius-based subsidiary, sources close to the development told BusinessLine. When contacted, GCSH confirmed the development.

“While GCSH is not obligated to fund Aircel anymore, it has infused ₹95 crore into Aircel on March 31, 2018, to only cover unpaid salaries of Aircel staff for about a month-and-a-half and certain expenses, which is up to the point when the Insolvency Resolution Professional (IRP) was appointed by the NCLT,” said GCSH, in an email reply.

Maxis holds 74 per cent stake in Aircel, while the remaining is held by Sindya Securities & Investments. The salaries are expected to be credited by Tuesday, said one of the sources.

An Aircel spokesperson also confirmed the development, saying the management team had been working with the shareholder to raise additional funds. “The funding will help pay outstanding salaries and meet immediate operational expenses,” he added.

The company had defaulted on the February salary to its employees and certain payments to distributors, while the salary for March is also due soon, sources said. The cash crunch came after certain lenders encashed its bank guarantees.

Aircel, which had about ₹100 crore in its Trust and Retention Account (TRA) earmarked for salaries and other operational purposes, could not draw “a single pie” from the account since February 1, sources had told BusinessLine on March 13.

On February 20, Aircel’s lenders had sought additional funding from shareholders. However, Maxis had decided not to infuse further funds, saying it was “unviable”.

Published on April 01, 2018

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