January 29, 2018 / 1:04 PM / 21 days ago

Reliance Communications narrows loss as sells off wireless assets

(Reuters) - Indian telecoms company Reliance Communications Ltd (RCom) reported a narrower quarterly loss on Monday, as its move out of consumer business helped cut losses.

RCom, controlled by businessman Anil Ambani and once India’s second-biggest phone carrier, has faced a string of bankruptcy proceedings in recent months over unpaid dues.

It owed banks $7 billion as of March 2017 when it last made public its debt numbers, and more to vendors.

To raise funds and help repay what it owes, RCom announced plans to sell most of its wireless assets to another carrier Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd owned by Mukesh Ambani - India’s richest person and Anil Ambani’s older brother.

That sale is expected to be completed by March, leaving RCom focusing on its enterprise business of data centres and undersea cabling.

RCom Chairman Anil Amabani said on Monday the exit from consumer business has helped the firm narrow its net loss that and the company expected to deliver better results in the future.

For the third quarter ended December, RCom reported a net loss of 1.30 billion rupees ($20.45 million), smaller than 5.31 billion rupees a year ago. bit.ly/2GsYL6L

Competition from Jio had shaken up the Indian telecoms landscape with it cut-price offerings when it began operations in September 2016, that pushed RCom deeper into the red at a time it was already reeling under heavy debt.

China Development Bank, which along with other Chinese lenders is owed about $2 billion, agreed to withdraw a petition seeking insolvency proceedings against RCom after the asset sales deal with Jio was announced last month.

($1 = 63.5725 Indian rupees)

Reporting by Tanvi Mehta in Bengaluru; Editing by Jason Neely and Alison Williams

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