MUMBAI: State Bank of India (SBI) has moved the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT), seeking to recover loans disbursed to the Anil Ambani-led group of companies from a personal guarantee given by Anil Ambani.
The bank has filed two applications under section 95(1) to nominate a resolution professional for insolvency resolution process of personal guarantor — Ambani. The case list on the NCLT New Delhi principal bench website has two cases by SBI for urgent hearing.
Section 95(1) allows a creditor to apply either by himself or jointly with other creditors, or through a resolution professional, to the court for initiating the insolvency resolution process. The application has been filed even as lenders have approved bids for the group’s telecom companies.
According to banking sources, the action by SBI appears to be aimed at staking their claim on personal assets before international creditors get them. Last month, a UK court had directed Ambani to pay nearly $717 million to three Chinese banks pursuing recovery of funds owed to them. The matter pertained to a guarantee extended by him to a corporate loan availed by Reliance Communications in 2012 as part of refinancing.
Ambani had, however, denied executing any personal guarantee in favour of the Chinese lender ICBC. Sources said that the guarantee was in the range of Rs 1,200-1,300 crore. A spokesperson for Ambani said, “The matter relates to a corporate loan availed by Reliance Communications Limited (RCom) and Reliance Infratel Limited (RITL) and is not a personal loan of Mr Ambani.”
He added that the RCom and RITL resolution plans were approved by 100% of their lenders in March 2020. “These resolution plans are awaiting the approval of NCLT, Mumbai. Mr. Ambani will file suitable replies, and NCLT has not given any relief to the petitioner,” he added.
In January this year, lenders received bids for RCom, Reliance Telecom and Reliance Infratel. UV Asset Reconstruction Company has emerged as the highest bidder for RCom and Reliance Telecom, including real estate assets, enterprise and data centre business with a bid of a little over Rs 16,000 crore.
Senior brother Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio had emerged the highest bidder for Reliance Infratel with an offer of Rs 3,609 crore. The assets on sale included the airwaves in the 850MHz band in 14 of India’s 22 telecom circles, while Infratel has about 43,000 telecom towers, optic fibre lines and data centres.