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India's Reliance sells power unit to Adani to reduce debt

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Mumbai (AFP)

India's Reliance Infrastructure, backed by tycoon Anil Ambani, announced Thursday the sale of its power distribution business to billionaire Gautam Adani for nearly $3 billion, its latest effort to pare its debts.

Reliance Infrastructure, part of the Reliance Group, said in a statement to the Bombay Stock Exchange that proceeds from the $2.93 billion sale would be used "entirely for debt reduction".

Reliance is one of several Indian companies buried under a massive debt load it piled up in an expansion boom in the last decade.

As it struggles to service those loans it, and several other companies, is seeking to sell assets to pare back debt.

Adani Transmission, a subsidiary of Adani Enterprises, will pay 132.51 billion rupees ($2 billion) for the Mumbai-based power business, the statement said.

An additional 55.50 billion rupees will be paid on a later date based on regulatory approvals, it added.

Reliance also said that it would focus on "upcoming opportunities in defence businesses".

The company has previously announced plans to invest in its aerospace defence manufacturing business.

The group had also announced in September 2016 the sale of its mobile phone tower business to Canadian asset management giant Brookfield. It has since said it is renegotiating that deal even as it seeks other potential buyers.

In its latest quarter ended September, Reliance Infrastructure had posted a net profit of 5.44 billion rupees while its outstanding debt stood at 140 billion rupees.

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