BS: Anil Ambani’s stake dips to 22% in RCom; Banks sell 15.6% pledged shares

28 March 2019: Anil Ambani group’s stake in Reliance Communications fell to 21.97 per cent after its lenders — IndusInd Bank and RattanIndia Finance — invoked the shares pledged with them and sold it in the markets.  

The lenders invoked and sold 15.6 per cent of RCom stakes pledged to them, said a source close to the development. The source said that the rest of Anil Ambani group’s stake was not pledged with the banks.

While IndusInd Bank invoked 4.52 per cent from the total 9.37 per cent stake pledged with it, RattanIndia Finance invoked pledged shares with total stake of 11.08 per cent in the bankrupt telecom firm. As of December 2018, Anil Ambani group entities owned 53.08 per cent stake in the company. Of this, 30 per cent of the company’s stake was pledged with the lenders and since January, this block of 30 pc stake has been off-loaded in the market by lenders, according to BSE data. L&T Finance and STCI Finance also sold RCom’s shares recently, the BSE data shows.

On Thursday, RCom shares closed at Rs 4.35 per cent on the BSE, down 5 per cent over Wednesday’s close. The company had a market value of Rs 1,203 crore as of Thursday, according to BSE statistics.

On March 18, RCom terminated an agreement with Mukesh Ambani-owned Reliance Jio to sell its telecom infrastructure for Rs 18,000 crore. This was after the company did not get approvals from the government and lenders in time for the transaction. In its discussions with the department of telecom, Jio had declined to pay RCom’s past dues, which led to the DoT to refuse permission for the deal.

RCom had a debt of Rs 45,000 crore. In June 2017, public sector banks had approved a standstill agreement with the company, under which the lenders did not seek their dues till December 2018.  

In February, RCom had said it would move the National Company Law Tribunal under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, citing its failure to get permission from government and lenders. The company had promised to sell its real estate worth Rs 10,000 crore to pay its lenders. But till date no transaction has been announced by the company.
The Indian lenders, led by State Bank of India (SBI), IDBI and China Development Bank, meanwhile, are awaiting the fate of the IBC proceedings to get their money back.
On March 12, the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) had pulled up SBI, saying the bank gave false hopes that it would recover Rs 37,000 crore by selling RCom’s assets. The NCLAT rap came after the banks did not agree to release Rs 260 crore lying in an escrow account to pay RCom’s equipment supplier, Ericsson. The money was later paid after Mukesh Ambani, Anil Ambani’s elder brother, bailed him out.

Interestingly, Anil Ambani’s promoter entities in February had sued Edelweiss Financial Services in the Bombay High Court after the financier sold the pledged shares of Reliance group companies in the market to recover dues.  On February 8, the ADA group said L&T Finance and certain entities of Edelweiss group, invoked pledge of listed shares of Reliance group and made open-market sales of the value of approximately Rs 400 crore in early February.

The group had said the “illegal, motivated and wholly-unjustified action” by the two groups has precipitated a fall of Rs 13,000 crore, an unprecedented 55 per cent, in market capitalisation of the Reliance group over four days, causing substantial losses to its shareholders.

The Business Standard reported

Categories: General News

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