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RCom reinstates Rs 7.74-bn bank guarantees with DoT; asset sale on track

on Monday said it has reinstated bank guarantees worth Rs 7.74 billion with the telecom department ahead of the timeline set by the TDSAT and asserted that its Rs 250 billion asset sale plans are "on track".

The replenishment of the bank guarantees averts a looming crisis that the company had faced after the telecom department's show-cause notice to it on the spectrum and licence cancellation. It also clears the path for the asset monetisation programme of the debt-ridden company.

RCom -- which plans to sell spectrum and other telecom assets to Reliance Jio -- said in a statement today that overall Rs 250-billion asset monetisation programme is "fully on track" and will be completed "expeditiously".

ALSO READ: RCom bonds drop to 7-month low after offer to repay holders at a discount "RCom and its subsidiary Reliance Telecom Limited have today reinstated bank guarantees aggregating Rs 7.74 billion with the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), four weeks ahead of the last date of September 10, 2018 as granted by... Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT)," RCom said in a statement.

The move will ensure that the company's licence and spectrum value of Rs 113 billion "stands fully protected", the statement said, adding RCom is fully compliant with the stipulated guidelines.

"The company's asset monetisation programme of approx. Rs 250 billion for sale of MCNs (media convergence nodes), tower, optic fibre and spectrum is fully on track, and will be completed expeditiously," RCom added.

ALSO READ: RCom planning to complete Rs 250-billion assets sale by August-end The first tranche of asset monetisation proceeds has been received last week, RCom said without divulging details.

RCom had recently got breather from the telecom tribunal, TDSAT, on the licence and spectrum cancellation show-cause notice served by the DoT.

The Anil Ambani-led company had asked the TDSAT to set aside and quash the show-cause notices dated June 19, 2018 and June 22, 2018 and "restrain" the telecom department from terminating or revoking its licences or spectrum.

RCom had maintained that while DoT has raised a demand for Rs 7.74 billion on the company, the said payment has already been made to the government through encashment of previous Bank Guarantees. Hence, RCom had argued, it only needed to renew the encashed bank guarantees, which anyway will be payable only in March 2019.

The issue was a crucial one for RCom. It had entered into an agreement with Jio to sell spectrum and other telecom assets, and clear its debt partially. If DoT had indeed cancelled licence or revoked spectrum of RCom, the present deal would have been in jeopardy.

ALSO READ: RCom calls DoT's approach on one-time spectrum charge discriminatory Reliance Communications had last week, informed the stock exchanges that the company and Reliance Jio have signed a pact for change in spectrum allotment in 800 MHz band across 22 circles, as part of the ongoing asset monetisation plan.

"Spectrum referred to under this agreement does not include any of the spectrum covered in the Master Agreement entered into between the companies on 28 December 2017," the company had said.

RCom is currently under the debt resolution process under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (IBC).