Lack of asset sale progress leaves Indian telco with 90 days to reach a deal with lenders

Aircel faces the real possibility of going into liquidation owing to a lack of meaningful progress on reaching a deal with lenders.

The Indian operator, which filed for bankruptcy protection in March, is halfway through a 180-day insolvency resolution process, but has yet to formulate a plan to pay off its 500 billion rupee (€6.3 billion) debt.

The Economic Times reported on Wednesday that lenders attending a meeting last week rejected proposals to offload Aircel’s fibre network and to partially pay salaries that are overdue. 3,000 employees have not been paid since March.

"The situation is very grim, since only [a] few days are left and there is no sign of any asset sale," said an unnamed attendee, in the ET report. "Questions are being raised if enough is being done for the asset monetisation programme."

At Aircel’s bankruptcy hearing in March, the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) noted that the company’s various assets, including spectrum, towers, fibre, and its enterprise operation could fetch as much as INR320 billion.

Aircel is allowed to apply for a 90-day extension to its 180-day insolvency resolution process. If no agreement is reached at the end of the extension period, the company will be liquidated.