With Reliance Communications (RCom) back in the bankruptcy court, the buzz is that lenders are looking to recover around Rs 85,000 crore from the telco. Although the Anil Ambani firm has debt of close to Rs 46,000 crore on its books, the claim amount is reportedly much higher because the debt of its two units Reliance Infratel and Reliance Telecom as well as other subsidiaries and step-down companies have also be taken into account.
People in the know told The Economic Times that the interim resolution professionals (IRPs) appointed to oversee the insolvency resolution process have already admitted claims of Rs 66,000 crore against the companies. The committee of creditors of debt-ridden telecom firm met up on Thursday and formally kicked-off the bankruptcy proceedings. At the meeting, the representatives of 15 banks were briefed on the claim processing status by the IRPs.
Currently, Manish Kaneria, Mitali Shah and Pradeep Sethi of RBSA Advisors LLP are IRPs of RCom, Reliance Telecom and Reliance Infratel, respectively. The NCLT had appointed them in May 2018, before the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) stayed the insolvency resolution process. But with the latter vacating the stay on April 30, the IRPs were then asked to file a progress report by this month.
"A large number of claims are still under verification and almost 90% of those against the parent company have been admitted provisionally," a source told the daily, implying that those were still subject to legal challenges by the IRPs if not found to be accurate. The bulk of the claims, to the tune of Rs 49,000 crore, have been directed at RCom followed by claims worth Rs 24,000 crore against Reliance Telecom, which held the GSM operations, and Rs 12,000 crore against the group's tower arm Reliance Infratel.
The State Bank of India, which has the largest exposure to RCom, is keen to replace RBSA with Deloitte as the resolution professional. Hence, Thursday's meeting reportedly also saw the committee of creditors subject the RP change proposal to an electronic vote. The result of the voting is expected to be disclosed early next week.
RCom was forced to discontinue operations two years ago, after its efforts to stave off bankruptcy by selling spectrum to Reliance Jio got scuttled.