Anil Ambani Group’s Reliance Communications said it was in talks with its lenders and partners to put off some of the instalment payments that the company had to pay until the completion of its merger with Sistema Shyam Teleservices and Aircel Cellular by September this year.
“RCom is presently engaged in discussions with its lenders to obtain their requisite consent for the two transactions and to refinance scheduled instalments falling due in the interim period up to 30 Sept 2017.
“All our vendors and partners are working with the company and they are fully aligned to the current market situation and our strategic focus on getting the transactions completed,” CEO Gurdeep Singh said.
Singh was responding to questions based on media reports that the company was having trouble paying interest on its loans and compensating its vendors and suppliers.
It also blamed the competitive intensity brought on by Reliance Jio for the current state of the company, as well as the larger industry, and urged the government to take steps to relieve the burden on the industry.
The company has seen its cash situation deteriorate in the last few months as many subscribers switched from its paid services to free services offered by Reliance Jio, much of it using RCom infrastructure.
Asked if it had not contributed to the situation by allowing Jio to ride on its towers and spectrum, Singh said Jio was always free to offer its services at whatever prices it saw fit, and would have created its own infrastructure if companies like RCom had denied its offer for partnership.
On the other hand, said Singh, the Jio partnership will enable the company to expand its 4G offerings in the future at very low infrastructure costs.