Anil Ambani
Anil Ambani, chairman of the Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group, speaks during a news conference in Mumbai January 16, 2011.Reuters

Reliance Communications Ltd (RCom), India's fourth-biggest telecom operator by subscribers, is finalising a deal to sell its entire stake in its tower unit Reliance Infratel, in a bid to reduce its massive debt.

The deal values the company at around Rs 22,000 crore.

RCom owns nearly 96% stake in the subsidiary and the finalization of the deal would mark its exit from tower business in India.

"The deal will be announced within a couple of days, and will value Infratel at around Rs 22,000 crore," The Economic Times quoted sources close to the development as saying.

In September, RCom was reported to have held talks with some private equity firms to sell Reliance Infratel, which has about 45,000 mobile towers in the country.

While some buyers are interested to acquire controlling stake of 51% in the unit, the Anil Ambani-owned company would choose to come out of the tower business entirely to retire its huge debt, sources said.

The stake sale process is managed by Standard Chartered and SBI Capital Markets. The deal could be second such transaction in the tower business this year. In October, Viom Networks had sold a controlling stake in the company to American Tower Corporation.

RCom's debt stood at over Rs 38,000 crore at the end of the June quarter this year. The company is planning to trim its debt by selling its tower and overseas business units and also by monetising its DTH unit and real estate properties.

Following the reports of stake sale, RCom share prices ended over 9% higher at Rs 71.15 on the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) on Wednesday.

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