Maxis subsidiary Aircel to file for bankruptcy

Regulators in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand have also placed on alert lists of unauthorised firms with whom investors should exercise caution.

PETALING JAYA: Aircel Ltd, the debt-laden Indian mobile network operator based in Gurgaon and 74% owned by Maxis Communications Bhd, will be filing for bankruptcy at the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT), according to The Economic Times.

Aircel’s Malaysian parent company Maxis Communications, run by businessman T Ananda Krishnan, had earlier proposed a cash infusion to support the telecommunications company, but has pulled the plug, the report said.

The company has been in negotiations with lenders since September, but has failed to hammer out a recast of its debt, said the report yesterday.

“Having not made payments since September, banks can no longer restructure Aircel without provisioning for its debt,” it said.

Aircel has debt of 155 billion rupees (RM9.48bil), with sustainable debt estimated at 55 billion rupees.

Citing sources familiar with the matter, The Economic Times said Aircel’s board has been dissolved ahead of the bankruptcy filing.

“That will mark the demise of the last small mobile phone company, leaving just four main non-state ones — soon to be three after a merger,” the newspaper said.

The newspaper added that Aircel had declined to comment on the matter.

“They are currently in the process of nominating members to a new board and an insolvency professional to run the process. The application to NCLT is expected to be made in a few days.

“The lenders are scheduled to meet on Tuesday (today) to decide on appointments and the future course of action.”

Maxis Communications also owns a 64.91% stake in Maxis Bhd. It was reported late last year that Maxis Communications may invest US$500mil (RM1.9bil) and up to US$1.1bil (RM4.3bil) in Aircel as a sign of commitment to the company that has shut operations in six circles.

“Bankers had been confident about recovering money from Aircel because of the support from its Malaysian parent, as were vendors,” said The Economic Times.

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