Reliance Communications Ltd on Wednesday signed a binding agreement with Canada’s Brookfield Infrastructure to sell stake in its mobile tower assets business for an upfront cash payment of $1.6 billion (around Rs 11,000 crore). This deal will help R-Com reduce its debt by Rs 30,000 crore, the company said in a statement.
The contract between R-Com and the Canadian firm is the largest-ever investment by an overseas financial investor in India’s infrastructure sector. The Anil Ambani-controlled company will receive B-class non-voting shares in the tower company, “providing 49% future economic upside from the business based on certain conditions”. The company said the deal will demerge its mobile towers business into a separate entity that will be 100% owned and managed independently by Brookfield.
“R-Com will enjoy certain information and other rights, but it will not be involved directly or indirectly in the management and operations of the new company,” the telecom firm said. R-Com and Reliance Jio will continue as major long-term tenants of the new mobile tower company, along with third party telecom operators.
Reliance Communications is the most indebted mobile phone service provider in India, facing nearly Rs 42,000 crore in debts, according to Mint. The telecom giant is also merging with smaller rival Aircel and has signed an agreement for the sharing and trading of the 850 Mhz spectrum with Reliance Jio. The company aims to become debt-free by 2017.