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Anil Ambani vows to cut debt to 'bare' minimum, says committed to meet all obligations

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Embattled tycoon Anil Ambani yesterday vowed to cut debt of his group to "bare" minimum and said more than Rs 35,000 crore of loans have been paid back in the last 14 months and all future payment obligations will be met in a timely manner. Ambani, who a couple of months back avoided a possible jail term after elder brother and richest Indian Mukesh Ambani paid off an overdue liability towards a contractor, has been on an asset sale spree to raise funds to cut about Rs 1 lakh crore of debt at his infrastructure-to-finance conglomerate.

In recent weeks, he sold a radio station and mutual fund business and is said to be in talks to sell general insurance unit.

In a media conference call, he blamed "unwarranted rumour-mongering" for the sharp fall in shares of his group firms, Reliance Power Ltd and Reliance Infrastructure Ltd. "The Group was fully committed to meeting all future debt servicing obligations in a timely manner, through further asset monetisation plans that are already at various stages of implementation," Anil Ambani said.

He expressed confidence in transforming the Group to "capital light (with) bare minimal debt, and a higher return on equity".

Once ranked among India's top billionaires, Ambani, 60, has seen his wealth erode in the last five years due to burgeoning debt at his group firms. Shares of his group firms have tumbled more than 65% since January.

"Unwarranted rumour mongering, speculation, and bear hammering of all Reliance Group companies shares over the last few weeks, has caused grave damage to all our stakeholders," he said.

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