Reliance Communications (RCOM) has signed a binding agreement with asset management company Brookfield Infrastructure to sell its pan-India tower assets. RCOM will receive upfront cash payment of Rs 11,000 crore from Brookfield after completion of the transaction. The telecom operator intends to utilize the proceedings of the sale for the sole purpose of reducing its debt.
The deal between RCOM and Brookfield was initially announced in October and is now subjected to regulatory, shareholder, and lenders’ approvals.
Under the Term Sheet agreement, tower assets will be transferred from Reliance Infratel Ltd into a separate Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), which will be fully owned by Brookfield. “RCOM will also receive Class B non-voting shares in the new tower company, providing 49% future economic upside in the Towers business, based on certain conditions,” the company said in a statement. However RCOM will not be directly or indirectly involved in the management or operations of the new SPV.
RCOM claims that the proceeds of Rs 11,000 crore from tower sale and the earlier announced wireless business merger with Aircel will reduces overall debt by Rs 31,000 crore (~$ 4.6 billion) or nearly 70% of its existing debt. RCOM will continue to hold 50% stake in in the merger deal with Aircel, as announced earlier.
Other deals from RCOM
RCOM-MTS merger deal: In March, shareholders of Sistema Shyam Teleservices (SSTL), which owns the MTS brand in India approved the merger of the company with RCOM. The company also received mandatory approvals from Rajasthan HC on September 30th and from Bombay HC on October 7th while RCOM’s CEO Gurdeep Singh said during a call with analysts that MTS customers can soon migrate to RCOM 4G.
RCOM-Jio spectrum sharing deal: A Mint report in September said that RCOM and Reliance Jio had virtually merged their networks as per statements issued by Anil Ambani. Both companies had entered into a strategic partnership to share spectrum in 800 MHz band across 17 Circles in January.
RCOM reported a total customer base of 88.3 million for Q2FY17, down from 111.5 million in the same quarter last year. It also reported 35.1 million mobile Internet connections for the quarter, down 5.6% year-on-year from 37.1 million connections. Net profit for the quarter was Rs 38.8 crore, down 28.4% quarter-on-quarter. Overall revenue stood at Rs 5141.8 crore for this quarter, down 4% year-on-year.