DTH

Reliance ADA group to hive off DTH operations

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MUMBAI: The Anil Ambani-owned DTH service Reliance Digital TV which claims to have a five million net subscriber base and an estimated two million active connections is likely to be hived off in to a separate company. For the past three or four years, Reliance Communications, the parent company has been seeking a buyer for the venture. It had spoken to Sun TV in the past but the valuations and expectations did not match what the former was willing to pay for Reliance Digital TV. Unconfirmed reports say that the company had inconclusive conversations with other potential partners too. Hence, it has decided to go for a spin off of its DTH service business which has been relatively stagnant.

Reliance Communications, the parent company of Reliance Digital, is being driven to do this to pare its debt-EBIDTA ratio. Speaking to investors yesterday RCOM CEO (consumer business) Gurdeep Singh said that the idea was to bring that number from 4.64 currently to about three in 18-24 months. Other assets that could be seeking buyers include equity stakes in its international operations at Reliance Globalcom, and in its tower unit Reliance Infratel.

“We are looking to bring down our debt-to-EBIDTA ratio to around 3 within 18-24 months and are looking at monetizing our non-core assets to deleverage the balance sheet,” Reliance Communications (RCom) CEO (Consumer Business) Gurdeep Singh informed PTI. He added: “For this, we are looking at hiving off the DTH business, stake sale in our international operations at Reliance Globalcom, monetization of our real estate assets, as well as a possible divestment in Reliance Infratel, which handles our towers portfolio."

The group earlier this week announced the merger of its wireless business with another telco Aircel. It is also looking to raise $1 billion (approximately Rs 6,686.5 crore) in equity to expand the venture and make possible payments to the government for mobile spectrum use.

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