Relief for IL&FS: NHAI steps in, highway builder set to pay Rs 700 cr

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Mumbai | Published: September 25, 2018 4:13:11 AM

IL&FS is already understood to be behind payments on commercial paper worth approximately over Rs 300 crore and inter-corporate deposits worth roughly Rs 450 crore.

Relief for IL&FS: NHAI steps in, highway builder set to pay Rs 700 cr

IL&FS on Monday said it was unable to service its obligations in respect of commercial paper due on the day. In a filing, the company also said it defaulted on the interest on its non-convertible debentures due on September 22 and 23, both being non-banking days, and was payable on September 24. According to data from Value Research, IL&FS was due to pay Rs 197.29 crore to LIC Mutual Fund as well as make five more payments to Principal Mutual Fund totalling Rs 73.97 crore. But in a slight reversal of fortunes for the beleaguered company, it is due to receive Rs 700 crore from the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) soon.

IL&FS is already understood to be behind payments on commercial paper worth approximately over Rs 300 crore and inter-corporate deposits worth roughly Rs 450 crore.

Neither a senior IL&FS official nor a senior executive from LIC Mutual Fund responded to a query in this regard till the time of going to press.

IL&FS’ outstanding borrowings are in the region of `91, 000 crore, according to the company’s annual report and approximately `20,000 crore are understood to be due for repayment within a year.

The company has total liabilities in excess of Rs 1 lakh crore.

The Reserve Bank of India has reportedly summoned IL&FS shareholders for a meeting on September 28. The central bank did not respond to an email seeking comment. The board of IL&FS is set to meet for its annual general meeting on September 29.

Meanwhile, following a settlement of `425 crore on September 18 between the NHAI and IL&FS Transportation Networks (ITNL), NHAI is in advanced stages of settling another claim with the struggling Mumbai-based firm.

According to sources, ITNL, the road development subsidiary of IL&FS, has claimed an amount of `700 crore for a road project in Maharashtra. A senior NHAI official said the settlement amount awarded by its conciliation committee is usually slightly lower than what contractors claim. “I can’t say what the exact settlement amount will be but it is in advanced stages of being decided,” the official said.

While sources said the government has asked the NHAI to clear IL&FS’ dues at the earliest, the NHAI official said, “We are not waiting for any direction from the government, we are keen that all our contractors do well. ”

The advantage of the reconciliation process is there will be no further appeals that can potentially delay the award of the settlement amount.

On September 22, ITNL re-designated its chief financial officer Dilip Bhatia as chief strategy officer, while removing him from its list of key managerial personnel. In a notice to the stock exchanges, ITNL said Bhatia would be responsible for divestment of assets and other strategic initiatives, in view of “the strategic priority of monetisation of the company’s project assets and generating liquidity”. A day prior, Ramesh Bawa, MD & CEO of IL&FS Financial Services, along with five other directors, had quit the firm.

FE reported on September 1 that ITNL had already received offers for 14 of its road projects and was hoping to conclude the sale process for at least seven of them before the end of October. However, the Delhi High Court on September 21 issued a notice to ITNL barring it from selling any of its assets till December 7, after Aditya Birla Finance, a creditor of two of ITNL’s road projects, filed an arbitration application under Section 9 of the Indian Arbitration and Conciliation Act.

FE was the first to report on July 24 that ITNL was in talks with the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund to sell its entire roads portfolio. One of the sources FE spoke to said the enterprise value of the operational road assets is about `30,000 crore or $4 billion. Subsequently, IL&FS said it is expecting to reduce its debt by the same amount which it expects to realise from its asset sales at ITNL. FE also reported on July 8 that the company was in talks with Cube Highways to sell its Chenani Nashri Tunnelway.

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