Aircel lays off 1000, is trying to sell assets to stay afloat

The telecom company, which has been facing a financial crisis for some time now, owes about Rs 20,000 crores to banks.

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Bankrupt mobile company, Aircel, has laid off about 1,000 of its remaining workforce of 1,229. Meanwhile, the insolvency process is on and Deloitte, the resolution professional, is trying its best to ensure that the assets of the Company are sold off at a good price. The exit pay for the staff is being worked out, and the last working day for the employees was 16 August. Aircel reportedly owes about Rs 20,000 crores to various banks.

The telecom company, owned by Maxis of Malaysia, has been running with the help of some Rs 90 crore that was recovered by certain employee-run groups. Bharti Airtel had also put in about Rs 341 crore and the telecom department had helped with about Rs 298 crore in a deal involving sale of 4G spectrum.

Recently, Deloitte’s legal representative conveyed to the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) that Aircel had the ‘right of use’ over spectrum, implying that the airwaves should be considered as ‘property’, which can be sold as part of asset monetisation. The airwaves were purchased in auctions for Rs 6,249 crore and their current value is about Rs 6,239 crore.

However, legal representatives of the telecom department countered the argument by saying that they are a natural resource belonging to the Government and the public, and no one can actually ‘possess’ it or exercise any right on the same without making relevant payments.

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