Under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, a company facing bankruptcy has 270 days to find a resolution, after which it goes into liquidation (Bloomberg)
Under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, a company facing bankruptcy has 270 days to find a resolution, after which it goes into liquidation (Bloomberg)

Aircel RP seeks exclusion of over 100 days from Insolvency resolution period

  • Vijay Kumar Iyer of Deloitte is the RP for the company, which was admitted into the insolvency process on 8 March, 2018
  • The genesis of the dispute lies in the bank guarantee that Aircel had furnished to Department of Telecom

MUMBAI : The Resolution Professional of Aircel Ltd told the NCLT Mumbai on Friday that it is receiving 750 crore in fresh funds and asked for around 100 days to be taken off the statutory maximum period for resolution, arguing these went into litigation.

Under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, a company facing bankruptcy has 270 days to find a resolution, after which it goes into liquidation.

Ravi Kadam, senior counsel representing Aircel’s Resolution Professional (RP), told the court that the company is receiving around Rs. 750 crore, and that this changes the entire picture for the company.

“With fresh money coming into the company’s balance sheet, entire valuation of the company changes," argued Kadam.

“We are seeking the exclusion of time that went during litigations at the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) as well as at the Supreme Court which will help us to find proposed resolution applicant, since the whole purpose of the process is to the maximisation of the assets."

Vijay Kumar Iyer of Deloitte is the RP for the company, which was admitted into the insolvency process on 8 March, 2018.

The genesis of the dispute lies in the bank guarantee that Aircel had furnished to Department of Telecom or DoT at the time of sale of its spectrum and other assets to Airtel in 2016. The employees of Aircel had moved a contempt petition at the apex court January 2019 saying both Airtel and DoT need to repay Rs. 751 crore to Aircel.

DoT was holding about Rs. 751 crore in bank guarantees when Aircel transferred its broadband and wireless access (BWA) spectrum to Bharti Airtel in April 2016.

Aircel, which is partly owned by Maxis of Malaysia, had to pay DoT 298 crore in cash and 453 crore in bank guarantees as a pre-condition for clearing the spectrum transfer. This was arranged by Airtel, and the amount was deducted from the consideration price of 3,500 crore for the purchase of the BWA spectrum for its 4G business in India.

Kadam told the NCLT on Friday that with the fresh infusion of Rs. 750 crore the entire picture is changed, and that there might be companies who would be willing to participate in the resolution process.

The tribunal posted the matter for further hearing on 8 February.

Aircel and its subsidiaries Aircel Cellular Ltd and Dishnet Wireless Ltd together owe around Rs50,000 crore to creditors. The combined liability of the firms towards financial creditors stands at Rs15,545 crore and towards operational creditors at around Rs35,000 crore.

Aircel’s assets, including spectrum licences and fibre, are valued at around Rs. 32,362 crore, the company’s lawyer had said the NCLT at the time of filing the insolvency petition.

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