China's Citic Telecom eyes undersea cable JV with Reliance Comm - FT

NEW DELHI Thu May 22, 2014 7:10am EDT

NEW DELHI May 22 (Reuters) - China's Citic Telecom is in exclusive talks to buy into undersea cable assets of India's Reliance Communications Ltd, the Financial Times reported on Thursday, citing unnamed people familiar with the talks.

If completed, the 50-50 joint venture would value Reliance Communications' cable assets at $1 billion, the newspaper said, adding Citic Telecom beat out two other bidders from the Middle East earlier this month.

A spokesman for Reliance Communications, India's fourth-biggest mobile phone operator by customers and controlled by billionaire Anil Ambani, declined to comment. Hong Kong-listed Citic Telecom was not immediately available for a comment.

Reliance Communications, which had a net debt of about $6.8 billion as of end-March, has in the past tried to raise funds through stake sales in its mobile phone towers and undersea cable units, but has not been successful in its attempts yet.

($1 = 58.7750 Indian Rupees) (Writing by Devidutta Tripathy; Editing by Sumeet Chatterjee)