The promoter group of Reliance Infrastructure, Reliance Power and Reliance Capital, led by Anil Ambani's family and his companies, earned a total dividend of Rs 517.74 crore since Ericsson took the company to court over unpaid dues. Anil Ambani's Reliance Communications has to pay Ericsson Rs 550 crore. Including interest, the total dues stand at Rs 571 crores.
A part of the due money will be paid from the income tax refund of Rs 118 crore which the Reliance Communications deposited to the Supreme Court on January 9, 2019. The apex court has already directed the court registry to pay this money to Ericsson within a week.
Meanwhile, Reliance Communications Group has requested urgent approval from its lenders to release close to Rs 260 crore received as income tax refunds, lying in the lenders' bank account, directly to Ericsson.The above two sources of funds add up to Rs 378 crore. Anil Ambani would still have to pay a remaining amount of Rs 193 crore to Ericsson in the next four weeks.
It remains to be seen if the dividend earnings is tapped to pay the remaining amount. In the last three financial years, the promoter group of Reliance Power, Reliance Infrastructure and Reliance Capital has earned a total dividend of Rs 967.57 crore.
In fact, Reliance Capital, through an exchange filing, has hinted there's a roadmap to repay Ericsson, without referring to the dividend.
"RCOM is confident of raising the balance approx. Rs. 200 crore for payment to Ericsson, in order that the entire Rs 550 crore plus interest thereon stands paid to Ericsson well within the time of 4 weeks allowed by the Hon'ble Supreme Court," Reliance Communication spokesperson said earlier this week after the SC verdict.
There's also been another interesting development related to a Reliance Group company that occurred on the same day the Supreme Court ordered Anil Ambani to pay up. Reliance Capital in a stock exchange filing offered its entire stake of up to 42.88 per cent in Reliance Nippon Life Management (RNAM) to its partner Nippon Life Asset Management.
Nippon Life Insurance already holds 42.88 percent stake in RNAM. What share of the offered stake will Nippon Life Asset Management buy from Reliance Capital is not yet decided. But importantly, if Nippon Life Asset Management takes up the proposal, Reliance Capital will lose control of RNAM, which is its most valuable company by market capitalisation. RNAM has a market cap of Rs 11,447.46 crore.
The apex court had come down heavily on Anil Ambani for his 'cavalier attitude' towards the court's previous orders. Rejecting the RCom's and Ambani's unconditional apology, the court directed Ambani, and two directors of his telecom arm, to pay a separate Rs 1 crore fine.
"The court has directed RCom group to purge the contempt of this court by payment to Ericsson the sum of INR 453 crore within a period of for weeks starting today," the court said.
The apex court also ruled that, "In default of such payment, the Chairmen who have given undertakings to this Court will suffer three months' imprisonment".