MNA Business Desk: Indian billionaire Anil Ambani’s Reliance Communications has called off a merger deal with smaller rival Aircel over “legal and regulatory uncertainties”, throwing its debt repayment plans into doubt.
The cash-strapped telecom firm, better known as RCom, had announced last September it was combining its wireless mobile services with Aircel’s Malaysia-based parent Maxis Communications Bhd to cut debt.
The merger would have created the country’s fourth-largest carrier after three dominant players Airtel, Vodafone and Idea.
On Sunday, RCom said both companies agreed to cancel the deal, which was slated to be completed this year.
RCom had a net debt of over 443 billion rupees ($6.7 billion) at the end of March this year. Last year, it had said the deal — which it called the “largest-ever consolidation in the Indian telecom sector” — would help reduce RCom’s debt by $3 billion and Aircel’s by $600 million, reported news agency.