Close to a third of Punjab National Bank’s gross non-performing assets (NPAs) of Rs 34,338 crore have resulted from wilful defaults, the lender has said. Of this amount of Rs 10,869 crore, the top 10 wilful defaulters together owe the New Delhi-headquartered bank Rs 3,554 crore.
As at the end December last year, PNB had identified 904 companies as being wilful defaulters and filed cases against some of them. The number at the end of September 2015 was 764 companies and the value of unpaid loans then was Rs 9,204 crore.
Following a speedy clean-up of its portfolio in the wake of a directive from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), PNB reported slippages of Rs 17,655 crore in Q3FY16 and a pre-tax loss of Rs 858 crore. The slippages left the public sector bank’s impaired loans at 17.4%, comprising 8.5% gross NPAs and 8.9% standard restructured loans.
PNB has made loan loss provisions of Rs 18,758 crore in the three years 2012-13, 2013-14 and 2014-15.
In the current year provisions are expected to be of the order of Rs 9,800 crore; in the nine months to December the amount provided was Rs 7,089 crore. Between FY11 and FY15, the government infused Rs 3,457 crore of capital.
The PNB stock’s market value has been eroded by approximately Rs 12,000 crore since the start of September. The stock closed at Rs 75.65 on the BSE on Monday, down 0.66% over Friday’s close. The stock is trading at a price to book value (P/BV) of 0.29 times for estimated FY17 book value.
PNB’s top 10 wilful defaulters include names like Winsome Diamonds & Jewellery (Rs 900.37 crore), Forever Precious Jewellery & Diamonds, Zoom Developers (Rs 747.98 crore), National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India or Nafed (Rs 224.26 crore) and S Kumar Nationwide (Rs 146.82 crore). While the bank did not comment on the classification of these exposures, all the accounts are understood to have been classified as NPAs and provided for.
Last year in June, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) had attached 1,280 acres of Zoom Developers’ land in the US worth Rs 1,000 crore. According to reports, Zoom has allegedly diverted funds borrowed from banks to 350-odd subsidiaries, related parties based in India and abroad, and to purchase jewellery for the wife of its promoter, Vijay Chaudhary. In a separate case, several PNB board members were questioned about loans to Winsome Diamonds and its subsidiaries.
Interestingly, the list as on December 31, 2015, does not include Kingfisher Airlines, which PNB recently said has been declared wilful defaulter. “The company is in consultation with its legal counsels to challenge the decision by taking appropriate legal action that may be required in this regard,” UB (Holdings) had said in a stock exchange filing.
According to RBI guidelines, a borrower is termed a wilful defaulter if he has defaulted in meeting the repayment obligations to the lender even when he has the capacity to repay, or has not utilised the money from the lender for the specific purposes for which finance was availed and has diverted the funds for other purposes.
KC Chakrabarty was chairman and MD of the bank between 2007 and 2009 and KR Kamath was CMD between 2009 and 2014.