Aircel liquidation deadline postponed to Jan-19

2 Nov 2018

India’s National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) has granted stricken cellco Aircel an extension to complete its insolvency resolution process, giving the company until 15 January 2019 to raise funds and clear some of its INR500 billion (USD6.82 billion) debt pile or face going into liquidation. The Economic Times writes that the resolution period ended on 8 October, but a meeting with the committee of creditors unanimously agreed and authorised an application for an extension. The operator began insolvency proceedings in March this year, and is struggling to restart services to generate revenue, or to sell off its assets to repay its debts. The Malaysian-backed operator is expected to break up its assets and sell them off piecemeal, with Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio Infocomm (Jio) reportedly interested in the cellco’s fibre and spectrum assets. Regarding its efforts to generate funds, the company received an infusion of INR950 million in April from its parent company Maxis, whilst a team of executives was able to nearly match that figure, securing INR900 million by chasing up unpaid fees from customers and other telcos. Aircel is also fighting with Airtel over INR4.53 billion of unpaid dues that it claims Airtel is ‘unjustifiably withholding’. The fees are related to Airtel’s purchase of 4G airwaves from Aircel in 2016.

India, Aircel, Bharti Airtel