After the successful resolution of Dewan Housing Finance; SREI, another non-banking financial services company (NBFC), could be tried for resolution in the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT).
CNBC-TV18 has learnt that lenders to Kolkata-based SREI Group are in favour of a similar kind of resolution for the company.
Uco Bank and State Bank of India (SBI), the largest lenders to the NBFC, have written to the RBI, seeking the banking sector regulator's guidance for an NCLT-led resolution.
Only RBI can initiate insolvency under section 227 of the insolvency and bankruptcy code (IBC).
Most of the key banks said they are in favour of the board being dissolved and the RBI-led administrator taking over to take things forward under the NCLT from here. However, the final decision is vested with the RBI and its response to the matter is still awaited.
CNBC-TV18 has learnt that the total debt of SREI Group is over Rs 36,000 crore and banks like SBI, Bank of India (BoI), and Uco Bank have already classified the account of the NBFC as a non-performing asset (NPA) in the current quarter.
Other banks are also expected to follow suit very soon.
SREI Group said that it is in talks with lenders to restructure its debt and has submitted investment proposals to the RBI for its consideration.
However, the lenders still want an RBI-driven resolution because they believe all is not kosher with the books of SREI Group.
In the March quarter itself, SREI had disclosed that the RBI had found nearly Rs 9,000 crore of potential related-party transactions that are under investigation.
A special audit was conducted and, and banks are more comfortable with a court-driven RBI-led resolution process, which is why they are seeking the banking sector regulator's guidance on the same.
In response to CNBC-TV18’s specific query, SREI denied the move and said that the question of IBC does not arise as its debt restructuring is already being considered by the lenders. It has paid more than Rs 3,000 crore in the past 10 months and is hopeful that the restructuring will be implemented at the earliest.
“It will be the saddest part in the corporate history if this is invoked. We were not in default, there was no delay, there was no overdue payments to any of the creditors. Because we had to give the moratorium to our borrowers and also do the refinancing as per the RBI’s guidelines, we had asked the same thing. But because there was no RBI circular at that time, we found that the only way was to do the restructuring under 230. So we went to the court, we submitted the scheme for full payment along with interest to the bankers and also it could be modified if the bankers want it,” Hemant Kanoria, Chairman of SREI Infra said.
“We are a public financial institution, public money is involved, so you cannot put it into IBC and get 40-50 percent when we are ready to pay 100 percent of the money to the bankers and to all the creditors,” he said.
“My customers have been good, they have been cooperating with the company, they have been prepaying. That is why Rs 3,000 crore has been collected in spite of the fact that all the hands and the feet of the company has been tied up. we have a board of directors who are responsible people, who understand things, they are professionals and we will not do something which is going to affect the apple cart,” he explained.
For the full interview, watch the accompanying video.