RCom’s Biggest Foreign Lender CDB Withdraws Insolvency Petition

Reliance Communications‘ biggest foreign lender China Development Bank (CDB) has withdrawn a petition seeking to drag the debt-ridden telco into insolvency, following the Anil Ambani-led telco’s deal with Reliance Jio to sell various assets, including spectrum, a fiber-optic network, and towers among others. However, Swedish telecom gear maker Ericsson is continuing its fight against RCom to recover Rs 1,150 crore dues.

RCom
China Development Bank is a secured lender accounting for 37% of RCom’s total secured debt, and it has dues of Rs 11,460 crore.

According to various media reports, senior counsel Darius Khambatta, who represented CDB and Ericsson, said that the Chinese lender is accommodating” for the benefit of all creditors, but had warned that it retained the right to file an application again if it does not recover its dues from the telco.

Anil Ambani-led RCom is currently undergoing a strategic debt restructuring, and is selling these assets to reduce its borrowings and spectrum liability by Rs 250 billion and the transactions will complete in a phased manner between January and March 2018.

CDB had filed the petition in November seeking insolvency proceedings against RCom, saying a large amount of loan principal and interest payments was overdue.

Last week, RCom entered into an agreement with Reliance Jio under which the latter will acquire 122.4 MHz of 4G spectrum, 43,000 towers, 178,000 route KM of pan India optical fiber network and 248 media convergence nodes. “RIL considers these assets strategic in nature,” Moody’s had said.

RCom Chairman Anil Ambani had then said RCom would shift Rs 100 billion of debt to a special purpose vehicle housing its real estate assets, including a corporate park in a Mumbai suburb as part of an overall debt-reduction plan.

While RCom is exiting the wireless telecom market, it plans to bolster its position in the enterprise segment with a division housing its undersea cable business and internet data centres. The telco is also looking for an equity injection from global strategic partners for further debt reduction and is in talks to sell a stake in the scaled-down business, it had said.

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