Within a week of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) having picked a dozen highly stressed exposures that need to be tackled urgently, bankers on Monday sat down together to examine a couple of these accounts.
At separate meetings of the joint lenders’ forum, lenders sought to garner majority support so as to be able to resolve these cases via the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC).
In order to be able to do that, lenders must refer these cases to the National Corporate Law Tribunal (NCLT). Bankers are expected to meet again over the course of the week.
Meanwhile, officials from the finance ministry and the RBI met officials from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) on Monday to discuss the resolution of the 12 large stressed accounts.
Among the stress exposures which bankers have discussed at JLF meetings are Amtek Auto and Bhushan Steel. According to bankers, the lead bank in the consortium needs to get the approval from the majority of the JLF members before sending a notice under the IBC.
The 12 companies, with a combined debt of more than Rs 2.3 lakh crore, include Essar Steel, Bhushan Steel, Bhushan Power & Steel, Monnet Ispat, Alok Industries and Electrosteel Steels, Amtek Auto, Lanco Infratech, Jaypee Infratech, among others.
On June 13, the RBI said it had identified these 12 stressed accounts that would need to be resolved via the IBC. These are accounts to which lenders have an exposure of more than Rs 5,000 crore and more than 60% of which have been recognised as non-performing assets (NPAs).
While lenders with exposure to these NPAs have been asked to resolve them using the IBC, they could also explore other methods of resolution, sources said.
With a gross debt of Rs 44,477.93 crore as on March 31, 2016, Bhushan Steel is probably the single-largest toxic exposure that banks have on their books. The Essar Steel account too is fairly large with lenders having disbursed some Rs 37,284 crore. Again, Bhushan Power & Steel, which owes banks around Rs 37,248.26 crore, is a troubled account and Lanco Infratech owes banks Rs 43,502 crore.
Meanwhile, lenders have a slightly smaller exposure to Alok Industries (Rs 22,075.15 crore), Monnet Ispat and Energy (`12,115 crore), Electrosteel Steels (Rs 10,273.59 crore).
Once these cases are referred to IBC, the lenders to these companies would need to set up a committee that will come up with a plan for resolution.
If that cannot be done in a period of 180 days — this can be extended to 270 days — the borrowing entity will go into liquidation.
“We estimate a couple of large steel companies account for around 50% of this and the rest of the names are from textile and construction sectors,” analysts at Credit Suisse wrote in a note. They added that these resolutions would need additional provisions. “We estimate 40-60% provision would be needed on the steel accounts and even larger provisions for the others,” the analysts opined.
The RBI has indicated it would shortly come out with changes in provisioning needs for cases referred to the IBC, which may defer immediate provisioning needs.
These total exposure to the 12 companies adds up to a little over Rs 2 lakh crore, or about 30% of the rs 7 lakh crore worth of gross NPAs in the banking system. The central bank has said the 12 accounts on the list constitute about 25% of the current gross NPAs of the banking system.
Some analysts believe loan accounts of the Jaypee, GVK, GMR and/or Abhijeet groups could be part of the list. Yet others say divergences among banks regarding the classification of such accounts make it difficult to say with certainty which accounts are on the list.
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In early May, the President of India had approved an ordinance amending the Banking Regulation Act 1949, giving more powers to the RBI to deal with non-performing assets. Earlier, the Union cabinet had approved a proposal to amend Section 35 of the BR Act.
The extent of the NPA problem can be gauged from the fact that around Rs 10 lakh crore of loans are either non-performing or stressed; this is roughly 12% of total loans. According to Capitaline data, the total bad loans of 37 banks stood at Rs 7.1 lakh crore in FY17, up 25% from last year.