Reliance Communications Blames ‘New Operator’ Reliance Jio for Industry’s Financial Woes

Anil Ambani-led Reliance Communications on Tuesday blamed “freebies” offered by a new telecom operator – an apparent reference to Mukesh Ambani-run group firm Reliance Jio – for woes of the sector even as it denied having delayed any payment by more than three months.

Debt-ridden RCom said that for the first time in history, the debt of listed telecom operators has exceeded their market capitalisation.

“As a result of increase in debt and decline in revenue, the debt servicing capabilities of telecom companies have been adversely impacted.

“The telecom industry’s current financial problem to some extent can be attributed to the entry of a new telecom operator and its strategy of freebies to gain customer and market share,” RCom said in a regulatory filing.

“The ‘go-slow approach by domestic banks is not only adversely impacting the corporate in making investment decision but also important refinancing programmes, which is not only creating a mismatch in cash flows of corporate but also impacting the bank’s financials due to increased provisioning,” RCom said.

The company has defaulted on some of the payments to lenders and it has received time till December for strategic restructuring plan under which it will get a 7-month standstill to service loans amounting to Rs. 45,000 crores.

The company shared details of debt raised along with due dates adding that “in no case, the delay has exceeded three months” and hence it was not required to sent any intimation to stock exchanges for delay in payments.

RCom said that lenders have granted it standstill period of seven months from June 2017 to service obligations related to existing debts.

RCom said that it has already announced sale of mobile towers to Brookfield Infrastructure and combination of its wireless business with Aircel group which, on completion of the deal, will reduce existing debt by up to Rs. 25,000 crores.

Shares of RCom on Tuesday closed at Rs. 20.9 a unit, down by 4.35 percent compared to previous close, at BSE Tuesday.


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