India’s National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) has cleared the proposed acquisition of Reliance Infratel (RITL) by Jio’s infrastructure subsidiary Reliance Property and Projects Management Services.
RITL has around 178,000km of fibre assets across India as well as 43,540 mobile towers. To complete the acquisition, Jio must deposit NR37.2 billion (USD455 million) into a State Bank of India (SBI) escrow account.
As reported by the Economic Times, RITL is the infrastructure unit of Reliance Communications (RCOM), which has been mired in bankruptcy proceedings for years, with the firms creditors clashing with local authorities – particularly regarding its spectrum licences, CommsUpdate notes are its most valuable asset. India’s Department of Telecommunications (DoT) argues that RCOM does not have the authority to sell its spectrum licences to resolve its bankruptcy process.
Jio was initially cleared to acquire RITL in December 2020, but the process stalled after an audit of RITL’s accounts by the State Bank of India designated them as ‘fraud accounts’. Jio demanded its own inspection of the accounts in question before it would proceed with the purchase. The case was referred to India’s courts, with Jio waiting until March 2022 before RCOM’s creditor consented to share the forensic audits.
Tele.net notes that earlier this month, Jio pressed the NCLT to expedite its purchase of RITL by issuing no-dues certificates to the unit’s creditors – among them Doha Bank, Emirates Bank and the State Bank of India.