Company News

India's RCom says applies to withdraw towers spin-off plan

MUMBAI, Oct 4 (Reuters) - India’s Reliance Communications said on Wednesday it had applied to a tribunal to withdraw a plan to spin-off its towers business, as a first step towards renegotiating the deal after ending plans to merge its wireless business with a rival.

As part of plans to cut its heavy debt load, RCom had agreed to sell a 51 percent stake in the tower arm to Canada’s Brookfield for 110 billion rupees ($1.7 billion). It had also planned to combine its wireless business with that of rival Aircel.

At the weekend, RCom said it and Aircel mutually agreed to scrap merger talks. That means the terms of the tower deal also need to be reworked as the tower arm would now have fewer masts in its portfolio.

RCom has told Indian media it is holding talks with the Canadian company to now sell all of the tower unit. Brookfield has yet to comment on the fate of the tower deal.

The deal shall, in due course, be amended and refiled, RCom said in a statement on Wednesday.

The telecoms company, controlled by Anil Ambani, has won a temporary reprieve from its lender on its debt obligations, after it had outlined plans to cut its $6.7 billion debt load by about 60 percent through the Brookfield and Aircel transactions. (Reporting by Promit Mukherjee, editing by David Evans)