The combined carrier of Reliance Communications (RCom) and Aircel is looking at raising $1 billion from foreign financial investors, even as it looks to create a war chest for expansion - mainly in data-led opportunities.
The Anil Ambani-owned RCom and Aircel had, on Wednesday, announced the merger of their wireless business to create the country’s fourth-largest telecom operator. The merger is likely to be consummated by the first half of 2017.
“As far as expansion goes, we have received enough interest in the merged entity from international financial investors. We are looking at a billion-dollar worth of investment,” said Gurdeep Singh, chief executive officer-consumer business, RCom, during an investor call.
He added the future capital expenditure (capex) expansion would be into data-led opportunities, which are at the market place.
Regarding voice expansion, he said assets of both companies will be put together where coverage is required.
RCom has 800 megahertz (Mhz) of liberalised spectrum pan-India, whereas in 2,100 Mhz, it has airwaves in 13 circles, including Delhi and Mumbai. In the 1,800-Mhz band, the company has liberalised airwaves in a few circles, which it had acquired in the 2014 and 2015 auctions. However, in 14 circles, 4.4 Mhz in the 1,800-Mhz band may be required to be liberalised, should the need arise.
Aircel, too, has 4.4-6.2 Mhz spectrum in the 1,800-Mhz band, which may be required to be liberalised.
The new entity will have a new brand name. The entity will have a debt of Rs 28,000 crore on its books and around Rs 7,000 crore of spectrum liability, which the company has to pay to the department of telecommunications (DoT) for airwaves acquired in the past auctions.
The company clarified that spectrum liability is not a debt and that it is not looking at raising debt to pay for the airwaves to DoT.
The new entity will have an asset base of over Rs 65,000 crore ($9.7 billion) and net worth of Rs 35,000 crore ($5.2 billion). It will enjoy substantial benefits of scale driving significant revenue growth and capex and operational expenditure, or opex, synergies with a net present value of Rs 20,000 crore ($3 billion).
RCom and Aircel’s Malaysia-based promoters - Maxis Communications Berhad - will each hold a 50 per cent stake in the merged entity, with equal representation on the board of directors and all committees.
Regarding the tower arm sell-off talks, Singh said they are on track and likely to be concluded in the next few months. The standalone RCom will have a debt of around Rs 9,000 crore, after closure of the tower arm sale.