While the President Ram Nath Kovind has given the green flag to the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code Ordinance, that debars promoters who have been tagged as willful defaulters from bidding for such assets, State Bank of India Chairman Rajnish Kumar stated that valuation of stressed assets awaiting resolution is not going to be impacted by the ordinance.
"The changes in the law will not bring down the valuation of the assets under resolution because there is lot of interest in these assets. Valuation has nothing to do whether the existing promoters are allowed to bid or not. Assets will go only on the fair value of the enterprise," Kumar said.
The IBC Ordinance does not allow promoters who have willfully defaulted on their debt obligations or are habitually non-compliant from participating in resolution of the stressed asset. This has been doen considering chances that such promoters will jeopardise successful resolution of the insolvent company. The new law will also make ineligible those who have their accounts classified as non-performing assets for one year or more and are unable to settle their overdue amounts with interest and penal charges before the submission of the insolvency resolution plan.
On the question of whether he is satisfied with the current amendments, Kumar said, "I will be happy when the resolution happens. I don't mind some haircut but I don't want to be bald."
The Ordinance comes on the back of doubts expressed by a few lenders and some bidders over the promoters bidding for their own stressed assets.
Kumar also clarified that keeping certain promoters from the insolvency resolution process will not lower the numbers of bidders who want to participate in the bidding process for such stressed assets. He said the interest from bidders for a stressed account will be driven by the outlook for that industry and the quality of the asset.
"This presumption that there would be a few bidders is itself not correct. If there is value in any asset then we believe bidders will be very much interested. If you look at the expression of interest for many of the companies that are under NCLT, there is a good interest," Kumar was quoted in a PTI report.
Kumar said certain criteria such as credibility of the bidders and a sound resolution plan will be checked before selecting a final bidder.
"We will be careful about a couple of things. The first thing is that resolution has to be very credible because the idea is that if we can save the asset from liquidation and we should save it. Secondly, when we are talking about resolution, the credibility of those who are bidding would also be examined," Kumar said.
The decision on the final bidder will not be taken by one person or one committee, he said, adding, "the committee of creditors will be critical but multiple parties will be involved like insolvency professional and the courts. So, there should be no doubt on the valuation processes."
Earlier this year in June, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had directed lenders to refer 12 largest NPA accounts to the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) for resolution under the bankruptcy code. These corporate defaulters include names like Bhushan Steel, Essar Steel, Bhushan Power, Lanco Infra, Amtek Auto among others. The combined debt of these accounts is Rs 2.4 trillion.
Out of the 12 largest NPAs, 11 are already at various NCLTs and interim resolution professional (IRPs) have been appointed. These resolution professionals have invited expressions of interest for a resolution plan from prospective investors.
Then in August the RBI again tagged 28 more large accounts for resolution through NCLT, which have to be resolved by December 13.
(With PTI inputs)