Billionaire Anil Ambani, who just averted a major personal crisis by managing to scramble enough money to pay off Rs 550 crore dues to Ericsson in the nick of time, today thanked elder brother Mukesh Ambani — India’s richest man — and his wife Nita Ambani for standing by him in the tough times.
Anil Ambani faced a possible jail term of three months, if his Reliance Communications failed to pay Ericsson by tomorrow, ie, 19 March 2019, per a Supreme Court order. Anil Ambani’s statement suggests a possible bailout by elder brother Mukesh Ambani.
Also read| Anil Ambani saves himself from jail; settles Rs 550 crore Ericsson dues
“My sincere and heartfelt thanks to my respected elder brother, Mukesh and Nita, for standing by me during these trying times, and demonstrating the importance of staying true to our strong family values by extending this timely support. I and my family are grateful we have moved beyond the past, and are deeply touched with this gesture,” Anil Ambani said in a statement.
Anil Ambani’s words also suggest a burial of the bitter acrimony between the brothers, witnessed in the past. The family feud led to split of Reliance Industries in two, with Mukesh Ambani keeping control of the traditional petrochemicals and oil and gas businesses, and the telecom business going to younger brother Anil Ambani.
The statement also confirmed that Reliance Communications has made a payment of Rs 550 crore and interest thereon to Ericsson, in compliance of the judgement of the Supreme Court.
Earlier today, an Ericsson spokesperson confirmed to the Financial Express Online that Reliance Communications has paid the final instalment of about Rs 460 crore to the Swedish telecom equipment maker. The payment confirmation comes just a day ahead of the Supreme Court deadline. RCom had already deposited Rs 118 crore with the Supreme Court per an earlier order. The Supreme Court had asked the remaining amount with interest to be paid in one month.
Ericsson had settled with RCom for a payment of Rs 550 crore in lieu of its outstanding dues, per a deal agreed upon before the Supreme Court. However, RCom failed to pay even that, following which, Ericsson moved Supreme Court again seeking jail for Anil Ambani.
Before, in 2017, Ericsson had moved court under Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code against RCom alleging that the Anil Ambani firm hasn’t paid it dues of nearly Rs 1,500 crore after signing a seven-year deal in 2013 to operate and manage its nationwide network.
The case proceeded in NCLAT and then in the Supreme Court. RCom missed two deadlines — September 30 and December 15, 2018 — given by the Supreme Court to repay dues. This led Ericsson to file three contempt petitions against Anil Ambani.