FILE PHOTO: A man speaks on his mobile phone as he walks past a closed shop painted with an advertisement of Reliance Communications in Mumbai, India, January 29, 2018. REUTERS/Shailesh Andrade/File Photo
(Reuters) – Ericsson has received 4.62 billion rupees ($67.42 million) from Indian telecoms firm Reliance Communications Ltd (RCom), the Swedish company said on Monday, potentially saving billionaire Anil Ambani and two RCom directors from a jail term.
Late last month, India’s top court found Anil Ambani, chairman of the debt-laden firm, guilty of contempt of court for wilfully failing to pay the Swedish telecom equipment maker.
The court had ordered Ambani and two RCom directors to pay Ericsson 4.5 billion rupees within four weeks or face a three-month jail term for contempt of court.
RCom, which owes a total 5.71 billion rupees to Ericsson, including a one-time settlement of 5.5 billion rupees and interest payments of 210 million rupees, had already deposited 1.18 billion rupees with the Supreme Court in February.
The Swedish firm signed a deal in 2014 to manage and operate RCom’s network and last year approached the court over the unpaid dues.
RCom has struggled for cash partly a result of a price war triggered by the market entrance of Reliance Jio Infocomm, controlled by Anil’s elder brother and Asia’s richest man, Mukesh Ambani.
RCom had also sought approval from its lenders to release tax refunds of a further 2.6 billion rupees to Ericsson.
Additionally, the company was also looking at selling its real estate assets to pay Ericsson, sources had told Reuters in February.
RCom did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for comment.
Reporting by Sankalp Phartiyal in Mumbai and Krishna V Kurup in Bengaluru; Editing by Shreejay Sinha and Louise Heavens