Mumbai: In a long-drawn dispute between Reliance Infratel Ltd, a telecom tower infrastructure arm of Reliance Communications Ltd (RCom), and its minority shareholders HSBC Daisy Investments (Mauritius) Ltd, the Anil Ambani-controlled company has agreed to share details of the deal to sell off its assets to his elder brother Mukesh Ambani-controlled Reliance Jio.
The overseas investors had approached the Mumbai bench of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) in October 2016 under sections 397 and 398 for the oppression of minority shareholders and mismanagement.
On Monday, the counsels representing Reliance Infratel informed the tribunal that they are willing to share the details of the deal with Reliance Jio with the shareholders, with two caveats. One, the investors can’t disclose these details anywhere in any manner, and two, if they wish to argue about deal-related details, they will have to do it in the chamber of the presiding officer rather than in open court.
“They had agreed to keep us informed about any decision they take about the company and now we are here,” argued Iqbal Chagla, senior counsel who is representing HSBC Daisy Investments in the matter. “Earlier, there were four attempts by the company to either sell the assets or merge it with the Reliance Communications. The fairness demands that they need to buy us out at the market rates or give us an exit.”
RCom and Reliance Jio have not disclosed the exact valuation of the deal yet.
“When we asked them what happens to the company where we had invested? It becomes defunct since all those assets will get sold off to the Reliance Jio. You have taken my money and now you are doing everything because of your majority,” said Chagla.
HSBC Daisy Investments had invested around Rs1,100 crore in July 2007 for about 5% stake in the company which is now reduced to 4.26%.
Countering this, senior advocate U.K. Chaudhary, who appeared for the Anil Ambani-controlled company, argued that the petitioner is merely arm-twisting the company. “This is not a loan that needs to give back but this is equity infusion which is irretrievable. They are investors and not borrowers and they knew where they are investing. Now, the value of their share is not over Rs400 crore.”
“It’s their commercial investment that has gone wrong and the way being 5% equity holder they are suffering we are also suffering being 95% equity holders,” argued Chaudhary.
Also, senior counsel Dr Birendra Saraf, appearing for the joint lender forum, argued that RCom’s assets, including the tower business, are a pledge and the entire plan was monitored by the lenders, hence, nobody can see any asset in isolation.
Email queries to RCom as well as Reliance Jio did not elicit any response till the time of filing the report.
After hearing the arguments from offshore investors, Reliance Infratel as well as the counsel of the joint lender forum, the court posted the matter for 27 February.livemint