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ICICI Takes 29.3% GTL Stake After Share Pledge

29 July, 2011

ICICI Bank has assumed 29.3 per cent stake in debt-laden Indian telecoms infrastructure company GTL after taking over shares pledged by its promoter, GTL said in a stock exchange statement on Friday.

The shares were acquired on Thursday, when GTL’s stock ended at Rs 68.2 on the Bombay Stock Exchange. At that value, ICICI recovered about Rs 1.94 billion of the Rs 5 billion it is owed under loans to GTL, according to IFR, which first reported the transaction.

GTL said in a recent stock exchange filing that its promoter, Global Holding Corp, a unit of GTL Chairman Manoj Tirodkar’s Global Group, had pledged 99.1 per cent of its 52 per cent stake in the company to lenders, according to IFR.

Syndicate Bank has a similar claim over the remaining pledged shares, a source told IFR.

GTL and another group company, GTL Infrastructure Ltd , are embroiled in a debt restructuring exercise with 25 lenders, IFR said. GTL has debts of about rs 60 billions and GTL Infrastructure has debts of about Rs 110 billion, according to IFR.

In June, GTL and GTL Infrastructure appointed SBI Capital Markets to assess their financial situation and obligations, following a battering of their stock prices the previous week.

A spokesman for ICICI, India’s second-largest bank, could not immediately be reached for comment on Friday.

Earlier on Friday, an Economic Times report said rival telecom tower firm Viom Networks had made a Rs 75 billion offer to buy GTL Infrastructure.

Later in the day, GTL Infrastructure said, “there are many aspirants who want to acquire Company’s assets or partner with the Company,” but said there had not been any formal discussions with Viom Networks.

Viom is a joint venture between telecoms carrier Tata Teleservices and tower firm Quippo.

Shares of GTL closed up by 10.15 per cent at Rs 74.90 on Friday, and GTL Infrastructure closed up 9.09 per cent at Rs 15 a share in a weak Mumbai market.

GTL shares have lost about 84 per cent from their year peak last September.

Last year, GTL Infrastructure struck a deal to take over the telecom tower business of Reliance Communications , which would have created a company with an enterprise value of $11 billion. The deal collapsed when the companies failed to agree on terms.

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ICICI Takes 29.3% GTL Stake After Share Pledge

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