The board of Tata Teleservices Maharashtra (TTML) on Wednesday approved fund-raising of up to Rs 20,000 crore via various modes, the company said in an exchange filing. The fund-raising could be done via redeemable preference shares to the promoters on preferential basis, non-convertible debentures in one or more tranches, or inter-corporate deposits/loans or commercial papers, the company indicated. According to Bloomberg data, TTML’s gross debt as of FY17 stands at Rs 14,283 crore. The move comes close on the heels of the Tata Group announcing that the consumer mobile business of TTML as well as that of Tata Teleservices (TTSL) will be merged with that of Bharti Airtel on a debt-free, cash-free basis. As per the deal announced last week, over 40 million customers of TTSL and TTML in 19 telecom circles will be taken over by Bharti, which would get access to 178.5 MHz of spectrum across 800, 1800 and 2100 MHz (3G, 4G) bands. While all of the Rs 31,000-crore debt will remain with the Tatas, Bharti will assume payment of close to 20% of the Rs 9,000-10,000 crore deferred payments for spectrum to the government. The Tatas will pay the rest.
On Wednesday, ratings agency Crisil said it has placed its ratings on the bank facilities of TTML on ‘Rating Watch with Developing Implications’. Crisil’s rating action follows the announcement by TTML to combine the consumer mobile business with Bharti Airtel. The ratings agency pointed out that as per the announcement only a small portion of the spectrum liabilities of Tata Tele (TTML and TTSL) will be taken over by Bharti, while all past liabilities and dues are to be settled by Tata Tele. “The transaction is a no-cash deal wherein existing customers and spectrum assets of Tata Tele will get transferred to Bharti while it will take over a portion of Tata Tele’s deferred spectrum payment, which was about Rs 9,500 crore as on March 31, 2017,” the ratings agency said in a release. Crisil said it is in discussion with the management to understand the timelines and nature of support from the group to meet both debt as well spectrum obligations. It is also seeking clarity on plans envisaged towards divesting the enterprise and fixed line and broadband business to group companies. “Crisil will remove the ratings from watch, and take a final rating action once more clarity is obtained on the aforementioned aspects,” it said in a release.