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Airtel, Bharti Infra among bidders for RCom assets

Rajesh Kurup Mumbai | Updated on November 12, 2019 Published on November 12, 2019

Reliance Jio seeks more time; lenders to meet today

Debt-ladden Reliance Communications (RCom), which is going through insolvency proceedings, has received bids from about three firms including Sunil Mittal-controlled Bharti Airtel and PE firm Varde Partners for its assets that are up for sale. RCom has total secured debt of about ₹33,000 crore.

However, the Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio Infocomm (Jio) has not placed its bid and has sought a 10-day extension. Bharti Infratel is the other company that has placed a bid, according to sources close to the development.

The deadline for submitting the bids ended on November 11. RCom’s Committee of Creditors (CoC) is scheduled to meet tomorrow to take a call on opening of the bids. It will also decide whether to give Jio more time to submits its offer. The CoC comprises about 40 lenders, including the State Bank of India, the China Development Bank and the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China.

‘Primarily for spectrum’

When contacted, a Bharti spokesperson said that a conditional bid has been made primarily for the spectrum, which is a precious asset.

“The bid conditions include that the overall consideration will primarily be by way of the deferred spectrum payables to the government being passed on to us on terms and schedules applicable to such deferred payments,” he added.

While Jio did not comment on the issue, a mail sent to Anish Niranjan Nanavaty, Resolution Professional (RP), for RCom’s bankruptcy process, did not elicit any response.

Earlier in October, the RP, who chaired RCom’s Annual General Meeting (AGM), said that the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) had extended the date for completion of the asset-sale process by three months, and now the date to complete the process is January 10, 2020.

RCom’s assets include spectrum, tower, fibre, ‘media convergence nodes’ and real estate, which are housed under its subsidiaries Reliance Telecom and Reliance Infratel.

In December 2017, Mukesh Ambani had emerged as the white knight and announced the acquisition of the debt-laden RCom through RJio, then a wholly-owned subsidiary of Reliance Industries. Later, in March this year, RCom and Reliance Industries mutually called off that deal, citing lack of regulatory approvals.

Published on November 12, 2019
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