Aircel’s spectrum on the block as UVARCL looks to future

Aircel’s spectrum on the block as UVARCL looks to future

The company selling the assets of bankrupt Indian operator Aircel expects them to raise between INR9.5 billion and INR15.1 billion (USD124.8 million and USD198.4 million).

UV Asset Reconstruction Company Limited (UVARCL) has based its projection on a National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) order. The firm is assuming 74% ownership of Aircel as part of its bankruptcy process, and is aiming to pay the defunct operator’s creditors INR66.3 billion across the next five years.

Aircel’s liquidation value was estimated at INR8.7 billion by the NCLT, against a total INR587.6 billion sought by its creditors. Based on this, UVARCL put in a “much higher” offer for Aircel than expected.

The firm plans to sell Aircel’s 1800MHz and 2100MHz spectrum permits for INR8 billion and INR13 billion respectively, although this will require clearance from the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) which has previously asserted that it is India’s sole authority permitted to sell spectrum rights.

However, representatives of the DoT have attended all of Aircel’s creditor meetings and raised no objections to the resolution plan, which the NCLT argues provides legal grounds for the transfer of Aircel’s spectrum licences.

UVARCL also plans to sell Aircel’s fibre assets for between INR500 million and INR600 million, and anticipates a further reimbursement of INR7.5 billion from the DoT and operator Bharti Airtel.

With an investment of around INR40 million, UVARCL is aiming to resume operation of some of Aircel’s services, such as bulk SMS, data centres and tower leasing. It expects these channels to generate revenue of INR690 million in their first year and sees this figure growing to INR960 million for the second year and INR1.3 billion for the third.

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