Exclusive: Three groups bidding for GCX once RCom’s future is settled
23 May 2018 | Alan Burkitt-Gray
Three groups have been shortlisted as final bidders for Global Cloud Xchange (GCX), the international subsea network that also has enterprise and data centre operations in India.
The final bids were originally due in last week, but GCX has delayed the process until the future of its current owner, Reliance Communications (RCom), is settled.
Capacity understands that GCX is now looking at a date for clarity about its future at the beginning of July, though RCom is likely to take until August to sort out its own future. However, GCX is ring-fenced from RCom, and the futures of both are being decided separately.
Sources close to RCom and GCX said that all three final bidders for GCX support its Eagle project to build a new cable from Mumbai via the Middle East to Italy, and from Mumbai to Hong Kong. The Middle East is a particular focus of the Eagle project, announced in November 2017.
Sources said that the active parties interested in GCX include one carrier, one private equity group and one combination of both. Of the three, one is interested solely in GCX but the other two are also interested in the data centre and enterprise business. Sistema is not involved in any of the parties, confirming Indian reports last month.
As Capacity reported yesterday, the future of RCom is in the hands of India’s National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT), which has appointed three administrators – called interim resolution professionals – for each of three parts of the RCom domestic business in India.
Separately, RCom is negotiating a settlement of its debt to Ericsson, which applied for RCom to be put into bankruptcy. Ericsson is an unsecured creditor, and RCom is trying to ensure secured and unsecured creditors are treated equally.
RCom is attempting to reduce its debt by selling its valuable spectrum, switches, towers and fibre in India to the unrelated mobile operator Reliance Jio, and its real estate interests to a consortium of Chinese banks. If this process goes through it should result in RCom’s debt being reduced from $7 billion to $2 billion.
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