Cleared Rs 35k cr debt in 14 months: Anil Ambani

 Reliance Group Chairman Anil Ambani
Reliance Group Chairman Anil Ambani. Photo - IANS
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Mumbai: Anil Ambani, the chairman of the debt-laden Reliance group that owes around Rs 1 lakh crore to lenders, Tuesday said the group has paid back Rs 35,400 crore of debt during the past 14 months to May through asset sales, even as it faced liquidity drought.

In a conference call with the media, he exuded confidence that the group will meet all its debt obligations through more asset sales.

The statement comes amidst a massive fall in the seven listed entities of the group, which have lost more than 65 per cent of its value since January this year.

"The repayment comprised principal repayments of Rs 24,800 crore and interest payments of Rs 10,600 crore between April 2018 and May 2019," he said, adding repayments included debt servicing by Reliance Capital, Reliance Power and RInfra and their affiliates.

It can be noted that the group could not complete its spectrum sale to Reliance Jio though an agreement for around Rs 23,000 crore was signed last year with his elder brother Mukesh Ambani, who had in April bailed him out with a Rs 485 crore grand to avoid a contempt of the Supreme Court that arose out of a payment dispute with Ericsson, an RCom vendor.

The two major asset sales the group could conclude during the past two years were the sale of RPower's distribution business in Mumbai to Adani group for around Rs 18,000 crore and a stake dilution in the mutual fund business for Rs 6,000 crore to the joint venture partner Nippon group of Japan. The group has also put its insurance business on the block but a deal is awaited.

That apart, Reliance Capital has divested a majority stake in the radio business (Big FM) for Rs 1,200 crore to the Jagaran group.

Ambani said these repayments, aggregating to Rs 35,400 crore, were made without any additional liquidity support from any lender.

He said the group is fully committed to meet all its debt obligations in a timely manner by more asset monetisation some of which are at various stages of completion.

At the group level, it owes around Rs 1 lakh crore to lenders, including Rs 49,000 crore that the bankrupt telecom arm owes to lenders. The group took Rcom to the NCLT a few months back.

"During this entire period, all types of lenders-- banks, mutual funds, insurance companies, provident funds and NBFCs--provided no additional liquidity to any of our entities," he said, adding various group entities are to get Rs 30,000 crore in claims.

"Compounding the matters further, regulators and courts have not passed any final adjudication orders on our claims aggregating to over Rs 30,000 crore that is due for over five years and more to our various group companies, especially RInfra and Reliance Power and their affiliates," Ambani said.

The group endeavour is to be capital-light, have bare minimal debt and a higher return on equity, with an aim to enhance the value for all its stakeholders, he said.

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