Delays in resolution and excessive litigation lead banks to sell NCLT exposures for quick cash recoveries

By: | Updated: July 26, 2018 7:17 AM

Lenders have put on sale nearly `8,000-crore worth of exposures to cases being resolved under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) as delays in resolution and excessive litigation have led them to opt for quick cash-based recoveries.

nclt, essar steelThe accounts which are reported to have seen the most number of lenders exiting are Essar Steel and Bhushan Steel.

Lenders have put on sale nearly `8,000-crore worth of exposures to cases being resolved under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) as delays in resolution and excessive litigation have led them to opt for quick cash-based recoveries.

The accounts which are reported to have seen the most number of lenders exiting are Essar Steel and Bhushan Steel. While the acquisition of Bhushan Steel by Tata Steel was approved by the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) in May, Essar Steel has already seen two rounds of bidding and the bidders are currently wrangling in court over which round of bids should be considered.

Bankers say that they have found it more feasible to unilaterally sell their exposures to these accounts and make cash recoveries rather than wait for resolution to be achieved. “We are selling NCLT exposures in some cases where we get cash recoveries,” an executive with a mid-sized public-sector bank (PSB) said. “We are making it clear to buyers that we want the cash in 60 days.”

In June, Bank of Baroda (BoB) had put on sale its exposures to Essar Steel, Bhushan Power & Steel, Soma Enterprise and Visa Steel. The first two accounts were listed in the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) first list of large non-performing assets (NPAs) and the latter two were part of the second list. BoB’s aggregate exposure to these accounts is Rs 3,004 crore. In addition, BoB has also put on the block a `329-crore exposure to Binani Cement, which it had itself dragged to insolvency court.

Union Bank of India has said that it has sold two exposures from the first list and these are understood to be Essar Steel and Bhushan Steel, adding up to `2,700 crore. The bank made these sales in the March quarter.

Chennai-based Indian Overseas Bank (IOB) is also reported to have sold its exposures to these two accounts. On Tuesday, IFCI sought bids for loans to Asian Colour Coated Ispat (`229 crore) and Uttam Galva Metallics (`148 crore), both of which are second-list accounts. Emails seeking comments from BoB, Union Bank of India, IDBI Bank and IOB remained unanswered till the time of going to press.

That banks have turned impatient with the pace of resolutions is clear from these sales. UBI managing director and CEO Rajkiran Rai G said in May that the first-list exposures were sold because of delays in admission of insolvency petitions. “After admission, we are not selling any assets,” Rai had added.

IDBI Bank, too, had stated its intention to sell accounts on both lists. MK Jain, former MD and CEO at the bank and currently deputy governor of RBI, had told reporters in May, “Wherever there is a delay in resolution or the amount which we may realise through the IBC process may be very less, those kind of assets we will put up (for sale).”

However, things might change now that lenders have signed the inter-creditor agreement (ICA) for resolution of stressed accounts of more than `50 crore. Under the terms of the ICA, if a lender dissents to the resolution plan agreed upon by 66% of the members of a lending consortium, the lead lender shall have the right to arrange for buy-out of the facilities of the dissenting lender at a value that is equal to 85% of the lower of liquidation value or resolution value.

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