Debt-ridden Reliance Communications' (RCom) plans to sell its tower and fibre assets have been further delayed, with the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) recalling its interim order and posting the case for hearing on April 23.
The NCLAT bench, headed by Justice S J Mukhopadhaya, recalled its April 6 order “in view of an order passed by the Supreme Court” on Monday. The apex court had stayed the interim order for another two days and said that RCom should await the appellate tribunal’s Wednesday ruling before closing the sale.
On March 12, NCLT had stayed RITL’s asset sales (tower and fibre) till April 6, on a petition filed by HSBC Daisy Investments (Mauritius) Ltd, which along with a clutch of other investors holds nearly 5 per cent stake in the company. HSBC Daisy had accused the company of “oppression of minority shareholders and mismanagement.”
NCLAT had partially vacated this stay on April 6 , and had posted the case on April 18 to decide on the allocation of the proceeds. However on April 9, HSBC Daisy moved the Supreme Court, challenging the NCLAT order.
No hurdles for other assets
Wednesday's order pertains only to RCom's plans to sell off its tower and fibre assets, which are being held by its wholly-owned subsidiary Reliance Infratel Ltd (RITL). RCom is free to go ahead with its other monetisation plan, which includes sale of spectrum, real estate and Media Convergence Nodes (MCNs).
On December 28, Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio Infocomm (RJio) had entered into an agreement to acquire the wireless assets of debt-laden RCom, controlled by his younger brother, Anil Ambani. RJio had emerged as the highest bidder to acquire RCom’s 43,000 towers, 1.78-lakh route km of optical fibre cable network, 122.4 MHz of spectrum in the 800, 900, 1800 and 2100 MHz bands and 248 MCNs.
RCom shares ended down 0.24 per cent at ₹21.05, in line with the BSE, which closed down 0.18 per cent on Wednesday.