RCom moves HC against tribunal order barring asset sale

Anil Ambani’s debt-ridden Reliance Communications Ltd (RCom) has moved the Bombay High Court challenging an arbitration panel’s interim order restraining the company from selling or transferring any assets.

The National Company Law Tribunal on Tuesday restrained RCom and two of its companies from transferring or selling any assets without its permission. The NCLT order came after Swedish telecom equipment maker Ericsson moved a petition to recover unpaid dues from the company (See: Tribunal order bars RCom from selling telecom assets to Jio).

In a regulatory filing, RCom said it "has filed an appeal before the Bombay High Court to protect the interests of secured lenders".

Reliance Jio Infocom, led by Anil’s brother Mukesh Ambani, has signed an agreement to acquire RCom’s mobile business assets including spectrum, mobile towers and optical fibre network. While neither Jio nor RCom had divulged the size of the deal, banking sources pegged the value at around Rs25,000 crore.

The deal was expected to be completed this month, bringing relief to RCom, which is reeling under a debt of over Rs38,000 crore.

The tribunal said Ericsson has made out an arguable case, and it is of the opinion that the firm will suffer "irretrievable injury" if it is denied any relief.

"Irreparable injury in the opinion of tribunal would mean substantial injury. The applicant cannot be denied a legal remedy that is available under the law," the tribunal order had said.

Ericsson has submitted various claims before tribunal including Rs 1,200 crore admitted by RCom in their correspondence and Rs 1,012 crore dues which RCom allegedly failed to pay despite repeated promises, assurance and undertakings.

Lenders of RCom had invoked "strategic debt restructuring" programme to recover dues from the company.