Earlier this week, the cabinet committee on economic affairs approved a loan restructuring package for short-term loans of SEBs by which state governments will take over 50% of the loans and guarantee bonds issued by discoms. The remaining 50% of the loans will be recast by banks with a three-year moratorium on the principal. Pawan Agrawal, senior director, Crisil Ratings estimates the impact on the net present value of banks, caused by the restructuring into bonds, in the region of R4,000 crore. Agrawal tells Shobhana Subramanian it’s possible the amount that remains as loan could be NPV neutral.
What is the immediate impact on banks of the SEB restructuring package?
From our understanding of the package, the impact on the net present value would be approximately R4,000 crore. The conversion into bonds would possibly mean that banks will earn a lower coupon — less than 9% — that they would have earned on the loans, which would have attracted say an interest rate of 10.5% or more. Nevertheless, the coupon on the state government bond would be higher than that on a union government bond. Most of the exposure is with PSU banks they would be hit more than others.
From the banks’ point of view are bonds better than loans?
The bonds are a debt of the state government, but are better than a government-guaranteed loan. The bonds will be issued over time perhaps between two years and five years and till that time the discom will pay interest. From a technical perspective there is no difference but the primary servicing in one case will be by the government and in the other case by the discom. The bonds held in the banks’ investment books can be either held in the Ready for Sale category or the Hold to Maturity category.
Could there be an NPV impact on the portion that is restructured into loans?
Yes, since there is a three-year moratorium on the principal, it’s possible there could be some impact. However, if we look at the restructuring of discom loans over the last 15 months of roughly R60,000 crore, there has been no NPV impact. Our understanding is that there is little likelihood of an NPV loss — the interest rate on the loan will be adjusted to ensure this. If the R4,000-crore hit has to be taken in one year, it would account for roughly 7-8% of the profits of the banking