Reliance Communicatons sets new deadline for tower sale

India’s Reliance Communications will sell its towers to private equity firms by early February, the company has confirmed. But deadlines have been extended.

At the same time the company plans to increase its capital expenditure by around 30%, the CEO Vinod Sawhny said in a conference call with analysts.

RCom is planning to sell its towers to TPG Capital and Tillman Global Holdings. The deadline for completing agreements with the two was extended to the end of January, but Sawhny said on 25 January that “we expect to close the deal in two weeks”, effectively extending the deadline to 8 February.

RCom has increased its annual capex from 30 billion rupees ($440 million) to 40 billion rupees in the current financial year, said Sawhny, and will spend a similar amount in the next financial year.

However RCom, owned by Anil Ambani’s Reliance Group, has debts of around 400 billion rupees. The company is selling spectrum to rival operator Reliance Jio, owned by Ambani’s brother Mukesh, and is negotiating two mergers – one with Russian group Sistema’s MTS India and another with Aircel, owned by Maxis Communications.