NCLT May Take a Call on RCom-Air­cel Merger Plan To­day

DoT sug­gests that both cos should first get SC clear­ance; lenders give con­sent

The Economic Times - - Companies: Pursuit Of Profit -

Dev­ina Sen­gupta & Deepali Gupta

Mumbai: The Na­tional Com­pany Law Tri­bunal (NCLT) is ex­pected to take a call on whether to ad­mit Re­liance Com­mu­ni­ca­tions’ merger pro­posal with Air­cel on Thursday even as the tele­com depart­ment sug­gested that the pro­posed part­ners should first get clear­ance from the Supreme Court.

Re­liance Com­mu­ni­ca­tions’ lenders China De­vel­op­ment Bank, Stan­dard Char­tered Bank and HSBC have given their con­sent be­fore NCLT for the merger pro­posal to be ad­mit­ted by the tri­bunal for a fi­nal hearing.

How­ever, equip­ment sup­plier Eric­s­son, which has out­stand­ing dues to re­cover from RCom, and GTL In­fras­truc­ture’s Chen­nai Net­work In­fras­truc­ture, which had bought 17,500 mo­bile tow­ers from Air­cel, have ob­jected to the merger pro­posal be­ing heard by the tri­bunal. An NCLT bench of judges BSV Prakash Kumar and V Nal­lase­na­p­a­thy will con­tinue to hear the ad­mis­sion plea on Thursday when it is ex­pected to take a fi­nal call.

The tele­com depart­ment (DoT), rep­re­sented by se­nior coun­cil Beni Chat­terji, told the tri­bunal that it would be ap­pro­pri­ate for Air­cel and RCom to take per­mis­sion from Supreme Court since the issue with re­gard to 2 G spec­trum of Air­cel is pend­ing there. ET had on Mon­day, re­ported that DoT would stand in the way of the merger un­til it has clar­ity from the apex court.

Eric­s­son’s lawyer said that de­spite re­peated re­minders, the com­pany had not re­ceived any no­tice from RCom on a meet­ing re­gard­ing the pro­posed merger. RCom & Eric­s­son lawyers dis­agreed on the quan­tum of dues the for­mer owed to the lat­ter.

Chen­nai Net­work, rep­re­sented by se­nior coun­sel R Kadam, said a meet­ing of all the cred­i­tors was not called and “they need to know the im­pact of the merger be­fore tak­ing the call”.

“RCom’s li­a­bil­i­ties will be­come

NOTE OF DIS­SENT

part of Air­cel,” he said. “If li­a­bil­i­ties in­crease, whether it af­fects me or not will only be de­cided af­ter meet­ing of cred­i­tors of Air­cel.” Kadam said that as per his client’s agree­ment with Air­cel, if there is any change of con­trol, all out­stand­ing pay­ments will be paid be­fore the merger takes place. China De­vel­op­ment Bank, rep­re­sented by se­nior coun­sel Dar­ius Kham­bata, told the NCLT bench that although its ob­jec­tions re­mained, the bank has been as­sured that no as­set will be trans­ferred in the RCom-Air­cel merger with­out its writ­ten con­sent.

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