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Tribunal okays UV ARC’s sharp haircut for Aircel lenders, but with tweaks
Photo Credit: VCCircle

The National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) has approved the insolvency resolution plan of UV Asset Reconstruction Company Ltd to acquire defunct telecom firm Aircel Ltd.

However, the tribunal has approved the plan with some modifications, which have not been disclosed publicly, confirmed a person privy to the development.

The NCLT is yet to upload the final order.

In March 2019, VCCircle had reported that Delhi-based UV Asset Reconstruction Company had proposed to buy Aircel Ltd and its units Aircel Cellular Ltd and Dishnet Wireless Ltd.

Eight Capital, which was the only other contender in the fray for Aircel, had opted to withdraw its bid from the final resolution process.

Lenders had approved the resolution plan of UV Asset Reconstruction Company with a nearly 74% vote of approval.

As per the original plan, the Delhi-based firm had offered to pay only Rs 150 crore to resolve Aircel’s massive debt. 

Aircel owed Rs 19,788 crore (about $2.8 billion) to its financial creditors as of May last year. The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) had filed a claim against the Aircel Group amounting to around Rs 9,895 crore.

As a group, Aircel owes around Rs 35,000 crore to its operational creditors including GTL Infrastructure Ltd. 

Aircel's lenders include State Bank of India, Bank of Baroda, Punjab National Bank, China Development Bank Corp. and Canara Bank.

UV Asset Reconstruction Company has also won bids to buy a few assets of bankrupt Reliance Communications (R-Com), with which Aircel was proposed to be merged. 

In October 2017, Reliance Communications called off its merger with Aircel.

The failure of the merger led both the firms to file for bankruptcy under the provisions of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC).

Till last year, Aircel's assets were valued at around Rs 32,300 crore, inclusive of 4G spectrum licences in the regions of Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Karnataka, Mumbai, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu, which are valid until 2026.

Aircel, which is majority owned by Malaysia’s Maxis Communications Bhd, has been in the corporate insolvency resolution process for over two years, and is being run by insolvency resolution professional (IRP) Vijaykumar Iyer of Deloitte. Aircel had itself filed for bankruptcy in February 2018.

Formed in 1994, the Aircel Group is a result of an alliance between Maxis Communications Berhad of Malaysia (74% equity) and Sindya Securities & Investments Private Ltd (26% equity), as per the company’s website.

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