Reliance Communication Ltd (RCom) Chairman Anil Ambani leaves after appearing at the Supreme Court in connection with a contempt petition filed by Ericsson India against him over non-payment of dues. PTI Photo/ Shahbaz Khan
Reliance Communication Ltd (RCom) Chairman Anil Ambani leaves after appearing at the Supreme Court in connection with a contempt petition filed by Ericsson India against him over non-payment of dues. PTI Photo/ Shahbaz Khan

New Delhi: Just at a time when Anil Ambani narrowly escaped a 3-month jail term by paying off Rs 458.77 crore to the Swedish telecom equipment maker Ericsson, fortune seems to not favouring the younger Ambani. In a major setback for him, the asset sale pact between Reliance Communications and elder brother’s Reliance Jio has been mutually called of on Monday.

Two firms cited that delays in approval from the government and lenders resulted into scapping the deal. In December 2017, RCom had signed a blockbuster deal with Reliance Jio for the sale of wireless spectrum, tower, fibre and media convergence nodes assets – the proceeds of which were to be used to pare its staggering Rs 46,000 crore debt. “The said transactions have become incapable of being consummated in accordance with the terms thereof, on account of various factors and developments since the execution of the said agreements nearly 15 months ago…,” RCom said in a regulatory filing.

The reasons included non-receipt of consents / objections from RCom’s over 40 foreign and Indian lenders in relation to the proposed transactions even after 15 months and over 45 meetings, as well as the non receipt of permissions and approvals from the telecom department. Other factors behind termination of agreements included the decision taken by the Rcom Board on February 1, 2019 to seek fast track resolution of its overall debt through the National Company Law Tribunal, and order passed by the NCLAT on February 4, 2019 restraining the sale, transfer or alienation of any movable or immovable property of RCOM, RTL and RITL (RCom Group companies).

“The statements of the lenders, as recorded in the order dated 15th March 2019 of…NCLAT, that it is not possible for them to sell the specified assets, and therefore, the NCLT process for debt resolution should be reinstated,” RCom said citing other causes.

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