Aircel closure a big blow, but will stay afloat, says tower firm GTL Infra

Telecom tower firm GTL Infrastructure has warned that its operations will be hit by the shutdown of several telecoms operators and the filing of a bankruptcy petition by Aircel this month.

The company said it might lose 9,000-11,000 tenancies over the next one year, but will continue to remain a standard (performing) asset with the banks by cutting costs across the board.

In a statement to the exchanges, GTL said Aircel had issued exit notices for six telecom circles covering 1,994 sites and had estimated downsizing of 6,606 more tenancies. But early this month, Aircel unexpectedly filed for bankruptcy before the National Company Law Tribunal Mumbai (See: With no turnaround prospects, Aircel files for bankruptcy).

''At this stage, it remains unclear whether any revival (of Aircel) would be possible and the outcome of the insolvency proceedings remains to be seen. In the event no revival is possible and Aircel becomes insolvent, the company would lose all 23,727 of Aircel's tenancies,'' the company said.

With this, the company's tenancies may close at 26,639 by March end, against 51,587 tenancies as of December last year. GTL Infra would end the current fiscal year with revenue of Rs2,267 crore, compared with earlier projections of Rs 2,600 crore.

American Tower Corporation is also expected to lose 60,000 tenancies in India, according to a Business Standard report.

GTL Infra said Aircel currently has dues of Rs384 crore and if it becomes insolvent, Aircel's dues for the remainder of the contract term would be Rs12,700 crore.

Despite the closure of these operators, GTL Infra said it would not have any overdues to lenders. The company has already reduced its debt to Rs4,000 crore with Indian lenders. Lenders are however expected to sell their GTL Infra debt to asset reconstruction companies and have invited bids.