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Lenders look to either convert Aircel's debt into equity or move NCLT

Want to convert their debt into equity and have asked promoters to invest Rs 4,000 cr more in equity

Dev Chatterjee  |  Mumbai 

Lenders look to either convert Aircel's debt into equity or move NCLT

Worried lenders to loss-making wireless telephony firm are looking at converting their debt into equity or moving the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) to recover their Rs 17,000-crore debt.

The development follows the proposed merger with (RCom) being called off in October.

The lenders will meet this month to take a call on the company’s debt restructuring plan. They have also asked the promoters to bring in Rs 4,000 crore of additional equity.

has decided to exit six important circles in India to focus on its profitable circles. It is in discussions with the lenders to restructure debt, a company spokesperson said.

According to the lenders, the company has already defaulted on its loans and has pledged its entire shareholding with them against the debt. The lenders’ warning comes as the company suffered a loss of Rs 4,319 crore on operating income of Rs 11,630 crore in 2016. Financials for the current calendar year was also not good and it would widen the company’s losses, a banker said.

So far, Maxis Communications of Malaysia (parent of Aircel) has provided Rs 33,000 crore to the company but that has failed to make a dent in the Indian market because of intense competition from Till recently, Aircel, together with two of its wholly owned subsidiaries, ACL and DWL, was providing 2G wireless service in all the 22 circles and 3G services in 13 circles. With the launch of Reliance Jio, it is exiting the 2G business, like other marginal players. Tata Teleservices has also decided to exit its wireless telephony business.

Lenders look to either convert Aircel's debt into equity or move NCLT
Lenders are worried as Aircel’s proposed merger with failed to materialise because of a pending case against its promoter Maxis in the Supreme Court, which could derail its financial metrics. The merger would have helped both the consolidate their operations and help service debt.

and had signed binding agreements in September 2016 to merge RCom’s mobile businesses with But with the Supreme Court still hearing a 2005 case on the acquisition of by Maxis, the Department of refused to give its permission to the merger.

First Published: Sat, December 09 2017. 01:16 IST