Tycoon’s India arm seeks bankruptcy cover with RM30b dues

MUMBAI • Billionaire Tan Sri T Ananda Krishnan’s (picture) Aircel Ltd has asked an Indian court to initiate bankruptcy proceedings as it’s unable to repay about 500 billion rupees (RM30.11 billion) of dues.

The mobile carrier owes about 150 billion rupees to secured financial creditors and the rest to operational unsecured creditors, including those who provided it goods and services, Janak Dwarkadas, a lawyer representing Aircel, told the Mumbai bench of National Co Law Tribunal yesterday. In addition, the company also has an unpaid interest amount totalling 5.79 billion rupees, he said.

The court will hear the petition on March 8.

The unit of Ananda’s Maxis Communications Bhd will be placed under an insolvency resolution professional, who will have as long as 270 days to work out a repayment plan, if the court agrees. If no plan is agreed on by the deadline, the company will be thrown into liquidation to repay dues.

Aircel is the latest casualty as a bruising tariff war, escalated by the entry of richest Indian’s Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd in 2016, rages on and the bank regulator chases down delinquent borrowers.

“There’s a sense of urgency here,” Dwarkadas told the court. Almost 6,000 employees at the company have not been paid their February salaries, he said. — Bloomberg