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R-Infra set to be debt-free: Anil Ambani

Says Rs7,100 cr from DMRC post-SC ruling will be used for debt repayment; Defence manufacturing new engine of growth

R-Infra set to be debt-free: Anil Ambani
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R-Infra set to be debt-free: Anil Ambani

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Mumbai: National Stock Exchange, Nifty 50, BSE Sensex, Bombay Stock Exchange will receive Rs7,100 crore from the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) after a recent Supreme Court judgement, the company's chairman Anil Ambani told shareholders on Tuesday.

The payment from DMRC will be utilised for debt repayment and the company, which has a standalone debt of Rs 3,808 crore, will become debt free, Ambani said. Last week, the apex court had ruled in favour of Delhi Airport Metro Express Private Limited (DAMEPL), a Reliance Infrastructure (R-Infra) company, which used to operate the Delhi Airport Metro Line, by upholding an arbitral award.

"As a result of SC judgement, Reliance Infra arm DAMEPL will receive a sum of Rs7,100 crore from DMRC, that will be utilised to repay the debt of Reliance Infra and the company will become debt free," Ambani told shareholders at the firm's annual general meeting (AGM). The company has an additional Rs 15,000 crore of claims pending before various forums, Ambani said. He added that it has regulatory assets worth Rs 50,000 crore under approval or dispute before various forums for the power distribution business. In FY21, the company completed 100 per cent stake sale in Delhi Agra Toll Road to Cube Highways and Infrastructure III PTE Ltd for Rs 3,600 crore and sale of entire 74 per cent stake in Parbati Koldam Transmission Company Limited to India Grid Trust for an enterprise value of Rs 900 crore, he said. It has also completed the sale of a commercial property at suburban Santacruz under a "composite transaction for sale, buyback and lease of the said property" which will result in debt reduction by 35 per cent, he said.

The beleaguered businessman outlined power distribution, new contracts in the engineering, procurement and construction business and defence manufacturing as the new growth engines for the company. In the last few years, the going has been tough for the Anil Ambani-led Reliance Group, which had to exit the telecom business and face other financial difficulties. Ambani also informed the R-Infra shareholders that the promoters have infused Rs 550 crore into the company through a preferential issue of shares to increase their holding to 22.06 per cent. Speaking at the AGM of Reliance Power before the one for R-Infra, Ambani said India's power sector continues to face challenges of low capacity utilisation of thermal plants, above targeted aggregate technical and commercial (AT&C) losses, lower tariffs as compared to the actual cost of supply, and creation of huge regulatory assets. A "regulatory logjam" is evident from the long pendency of a number of petitions/appeals, which do not reach finality even after 6-7 years of legal proceedings, he said. Demand for electricity has bounced back to normal levels after being hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, he said, adding that the company was able to generate power despite lockdown-related challenges.

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