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RCOM To Demerge Its Real Estate Biz As Reliance Properties

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Reliance Communications (RCOM) has informed BSE (pdf) that its company board has decided in-principle to demerge its real estate business into a separate company called Reliance Properties Ltd.

The company informed this proposed demerger is part of the company’s strategic plan to divest non-core assets, and focus on its core wireless and enterprise business. It also noted that this demerger will have no impact on RCOM’s profitability since real estate was not being used in its telecom business.

The new entity will be listed separately and all RCOM shareholders will receive pro-rate shareholding in Reliance Properties free of cost, based on their existing shareholding in RCOM.

Over the past few months, RCOM has inked quite a few deals to reduce its debts and is reportedly in the process of signing few more deals for the same.

– In March 2013, RCOM had confirmed that it was in talks with Bahrain Telecommunication Company (Batelco) to offload its global communications services business unit Reliance Globalcom. However, in April 2013, RCOM had informed that it was no longer in talks with Batelco for this acquisition  and was in advanced talks with Samena Capital, as a part of a consortium with global PE funds. The deal was expected to close by the end of May 2013, however there is no further updates on this deal yet.

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– In April 2013, it inked a Rs 1,200 crore deal with Reliance Jio Infocomm to share its nationwide inter-city fibre optic network infrastructure and also get access to the optic fiber infrastructure being built by RIL.

– In June 2013, it inked Rs 12,000 crore deal with Reliance Jio Infocomm to share its 45,000 ground and rooftop based towers for RIL’s 4G service.

– In June 2013, RCOM CEO (Wireless) Gurdeep Singh had informed The Economic Times that it was in talks for a third deal with Reliance Jio Infocomm to share optic fibre in cities. The deal is expected to be announced by December 2013, as per a DNA report.

– Last week, a Business Standard report suggested that Sun TV is planning to pick up 80% stake in Reliance Digital TV for Rs 2,500 crore. Both Sun TV and RCOM declined to comment on this deal to the publication. This development follows an ET report in May 2013 which had suggested that Reliance Digital TV and Sun DTH were in talks to merge their businesses to a single entity. Interestingly, Sun had then denied any such talks while RCOM had declined to comment on this deal.

RCOM Debt Payments: RCOM had reported a net debt of Rs 38,864 crore (pdf) for the year ending March 2013. Last week, the company informed (pdf) that it had repaid $1.2 billion worth foreign debt. This includes two external commercial borrowing (ECB) loan facilities of $500 million each and a scheduled repayment of $207 million with respect to other foreign currency loans. In May 2013, it had repaid (pdf) an external commercial borrowing (ECB) loan facilities of $500 million taken from a group of International banks.

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