The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) allowed lenders to proceed with selling some assets of Anil Ambani’s Reliance Communications(RCom) to Reliance Jio Infocomm(Jio), but ordered that the proceeds be held in an escrow account until it decides on a dispute with a minority shareholder.
The latest decision marks a partial victory for RCom a day after Supreme Court vacated a separate order, freezing the deal, in a case filed by the Indian unit of Ericsson AB. The NCLAT said that the asset sale can only close after a judgment is reached on a dispute with HSBC Daisy Investments (Mauritius) Ltd.
The twin orders bring RCom a step nearer to completing the sale of its airwaves, towers and fiber assets to Reliance Jio, controlled by Anil’s older brother Mukesh Ambani. HSBC Daisy owns a little over 4 per cent in RCom’s tower unit, Reliance Infratel. The case will next be heard on April 18.
The company told exchanges on April 5 that lifting the stay on asset sales would help it pare debt by about £2.5 billion “within the next few weeks” in the first phase of its asset monetisation plan. The deal with Reliance Jio, announced end-December, was widely seen as a bailout that had helped RCom stave off insolvency.
Hearing a petition by State Bank of India (SBI)-led lenders and RCom, the Supreme Court said that RCom secured creditors can go ahead with asset sales in accordance with law.