Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Group Drown With US$13 Billion Debt, Now Sued In London By 3 Chinese Banks On US$680 Million Loans Default

AFP Via Getty Images
He owns US$680 million without interests to Commercial Bank of China, China’s EXIM, and other defaulted loans. He is also the only ‘billionaire’ who never releases what his actual wealth reports according to India business leaders. He owes US$109 million on contracts to unions and managements. Furthermore, his businesses are under a mountain of debt, Reliance Group parent of Reliance Communications owes US$13 billion in debt. The Ambani family and Mukesh refuse to comment on their financial problems when asked by the media.
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Ambani is Asia biggest debtor – who is himself worth US$56 billion according to business sources. However, Ambani is in trouble, and it’s about money but he has a debt of US$680 million he seems can’t pay because according the the Indian Federal Reserve Bank leaders he doesn’t have the money he claims he has.

Right now this Reliance Group chairman’s net worth is, relatively speaking, down in the dumps. It had fallen to US$109 million as of this July. And he wasn’t just once a billionaire – he was once the sixth richest person on the planet.

Three Chinese banks – the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), China Development Bank and the Export-Import Bank of China – are collectively suing him in London for failing to pay back US$680 million in defaulted loans.

Partial repayments were made but by early 2017, the carrier making payments defaulted on its obligations.

His response is that he never gave a guarantee tied to his personal assets, which simply do not cover this debt. He claims the debt is tied to “the company to whom the loans were being extended”, as Ambani’s lawyer Robert Howe said in court.

So, what do we know for sure? He is debt.

1. He’s a wealth destroyer for shareholders

Ambani has proven himself very good at decimating shareholder wealth and borrowing money, perhaps the most effective in the last 100 years, with a combined group market capital decline of 90 per cent since he formed the breakaway Reliance Group in 2006.

2. His businesses are under a mountain of debt

Reliance Communications, of which Ambani is chairman, fell into administration this year. The Reliance Group remains in great debt. His four biggest businesses have around US$13 billion in debt. He owes US$13 billion debt.

3. This is not his only recent money problem

India’s Supreme Court almost threw Ambani in prison earlier this year. His Reliance Communications was unable to pay 5.5 billion rupees (or about US$76.8 million) to Ericsson AB’s Indian unit. Luckily, his brother stepped in to make the payment after judges gave Ambani a month to find the funds.

4. There’s confusion about that personal guarantee

In late 2011, Ambani went to Beijing and discussed the loan with ICBC’s chairman Jiang Jianqing and the other banks. The legal dispute is centred around whether at that time Ambani gave the banks the share pledge it requested to personally guarantee the loan.

According to ICBC’s lawyer Bankim Thanki, Reliance’s commercial and treasury head Hasit Shukla, seven years ago, signed a personal guarantee of this nature on Ambani’s behalf via power of lawyer.

Ambani’s lawyer says that permission was never given to Shukla, thereby the guarantee is non-binding.

5. An odd coincidence of that libel claim was dropped?

Reliance Communications was suing the Financial Times for US$1.1 billion in damages over reporting on Ambani’s business record. Ambani has dropped this libel claim as of November 1.

According to the newspaper, the lawsuit was about its report on a now-abandoned agreement by Ambani to sell most of Reliance Communications’ telecoms assets to its rival operator Jio (which is part of Mukesh Ambani’s group).

What’s next for Ambani in court?

“This is a straightforward debt claim to recover outstanding loans made to Reliance Communications in good faith and secured by a personal guarantee given by Mr Mukesh Ambani,” the banks said in a statement.

This month in court, ICBC’s lawyers asked Judge David Waksman for an early ruling – or a conditional order to force Ambani to pay the unpaid sum and interest.

Ambani’s response? He declines to hand over any evidence indicating his actual wealth.

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