Reliance Jio raising $1.5B in debt to refinance loans

Reliance Jio Infocomm (RJIL), the telecom arm of Mukesh Ambani-controlled Reliance Industries Ltd, will raise $1.5 billion from 26 banks to refinance loans taken in 2010 and guaranteed by the parent company, according to a press statement.

The refinancing comprises a $1 billion tranche with a total maturity of 5.5 years, and a $500 million facility that will mature in seven years – which is “the longest average maturity for an unsecured syndicated loan of similar size in Asia this year”, the statement said.

The debt deal saw participation from 26 banks, including 15 mandated lead arrangers and book runners (MLABs), namely ANZ, BoA, Barclays, BNP Paribas, Bank of Nova Scotia, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Citigroup Global, Crédit Agricole, DBS, HSBC, Mizuho, Royal Bank of Scotland, Standard Chartered, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. and Westpac Banking Corp.

National Bank of Abu Dhabi P.J.S.C. and United Overseas Bank Ltd also participated as lead arrangers.

The banks which joined at the syndication level were Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, Societe Generale SA, Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank Ltd, Land Bank of Taiwan, Mega International Commercial Bank Co. Ltd, Bank of Taiwan, CTBC Bank Co. Ltd., The Iyo Bank Ltd and The Hyakujushi Bank Ltd.

Last month, Reliance Jio had raised a $750 million loan from Korea Exim Bank to finance the purchase of telecoms infrastructure from Samsung.

Reliance Jio bought 4G airwaves in 2010 in an auction by the government, but is yet to launch the services. The company is also the first telecom operator to hold a pan-India unified licence that authorises the company to provide all telecommunication services other than satellite telephony.

Reliance Jio is launching 4G services. The company recently signed a master services agreement for tower sharing with Indus Towers. Indus, which is the largest tower company in the world, is a joint venture company of Bharti Group, Aditya Birla Group and Vodafone Group. Previously, it inked pact with GTL Infra for more than 27,800 towers across India, and also with Viom Networks for its 42,000 towers.

(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)

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