In boost to RCOM, Supreme Court clears decks for asset sale

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In boost to RCOM, Supreme Court clears decks for asset sale

New Delhi : In much-awaited relief to Reliance Communications (RCOM), the Supreme court on Thursday cleared the decks for the sale of its spectrum and optical fibre assets to Reliance Jio Infocomm as it vacated a stay granted by the High Court.

The bench comprising Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel and Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman vacated the stay by the Bombay High Court while hearing a batch of petitions by which the High Court had re-affirmed the stay of the sale of spectrum and optical fibre assets by the arbitration court.

However, on the stay on the sale of tower assets by Reliance Infratel by the National Company Law Tribunal in Kolkata, the top court has asked the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) to decide the matter in four weeks time.

RCOM's plea challenging the stay by the High Court was supported by the consortium of banks headed by State Bank of India, who have contended that the sale of spectrum and optical fibre assets would get them Rs 25,000 crore -- part of Rs 45,000 crore that they are owed by RCOM.

In a statement RCOM said: "There is now no bar in immediately completing the asset sales of spectrum, MCNs and real estate, and the same shall be concluded expeditiously."

It added: "On the stay granted by NCLT in favour of minority investors holding approximately four per cent shareholding in Reliance Infratel, which is limited to tower and fibre assets, the Supreme Court has not made any comments on merits, and has instead only directed RCOM and its lenders to follow due procedure, and file an appeal before the NCLAT, instead of directly approaching the Supreme Court."

The company said it is confident of securing appropriate relief from the NCLAT to enable the sale of its tower and fibre assets at the earliest. 

"The claim of the minority investors (which is fully disputed by RCOM) can, in any case, be a maximum of approximately Rs 200-300 crore from the sales proceeds. RCOM intends filing the aforesaid appeal before NCLAT tomorrow (Friday), with a request for expeditious disposal of the same."

Based on these developments, RCOM is now confident of achieving overall debt reduction of around Rs 25,000 crore within the next few weeks, from the first phase of the asset monetisation programme as detailed in the media release issued on December 26, 2017, the company added.