Mumbai, June 27 (IANS) Anil Ambani-led Relianace Communications (RCom), India’s second largest telecom company, said Sunday it has agreed to merge its tower business with GTL Infra in a Rs.50,000 crore ($11 billion) deal to create the world’s largest independent telecom infrastructure company.
‘The Boards of Reliance Communications, and its subsidiary, Reliance Infratel, and GTL Infrastructure today approved a Rs.50,000 crore (US$ 11 billion) deal to create the world’s largest independent telecom infrastructure company,’ said an Rcom statement.
The transaction is expected to be closed over the next six months.
The combined entity will neither be owned nor controlled by any telecom operator, the statement said, adding that ‘the interests of RCom as the largest tenant of the merged entity will be adequately protected through appropriate contractual arrangements.’
The statement said the deal would result in ‘cash infusion to RCOM, leading to substantial reduction of its consolidated gross debt and improved leverage ratios, contributing to enhanced financial flexibility.’
‘Further details of the quantum of cash infusion to RCom, and the share swap ratios for RCom and RINFRATEL minority shareholders will be finalised in due course with the help of independent valuers and advisors,’ the statement added.
RCom will retain the 200,000 km fibre optic network of the Reliance Infratel, and the shareholders of both companies will receive shares of the new entity, which will be listed, it said.
The merged entity will have over 80,000 towers and over 125,000 tenancies from over 10 telecom operators such as RCom, Aircel, MTS, Uninor Telecom, Tata Teleservices, and Vodafone.
With the likely future demand for telecom infrastructure across the country from 14 players in 2G, and winners in the recent auction for 3G (9 players) and BWA (Broadband Wireless Access – 8 players), the merged entity is expected to derive substantially higher tenancy ratios, apart from scale benefits and operational synergies, the statement said.
An integrated telecom service provider, RCom has a customer base of 109 million and ranks among the top four telecom companies in the world by number of customers in a single country.
At the Bombay Stock Exchange, the RCom scrip has been on the rise in anticipation of the deal. It gained 4.3 percent during the week to close at Rs.192.50 Friday.