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RBI-appointed DHFL administrator calls lenders' meeting on Monday

PTI     December 29, 2019

The Reserve Bank of India-appointed administrator of the crippled Dewan Housing Finance Ltd (DHFL) called for a meeting of its creditors for the first time on Monday after the mortgage lender was admitted for insolvency proceedings. The third-largest pure play mortgage player is the first non-banking financial company or housing finance company to face the corporate insolvency resolution process.

The Mumbai bench of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) had admitted the company for insolvency resolution on December 2 and appointed Indian Overseas Bank former managing director and CEO R Subramaniakumar as the company's administrator. "Since the resolution professional (administrator) has now been appointed, he is meeting all the creditors and will discuss the way forward for resolution of the company," a source told PTI. DHFL did not respond to an e-mail query.

The meeting on Monday will be attended by all creditors of the company including banks, bondholders, insurance and mutual fund companies. Subramaniakumar will also discuss timelines so that the account is resolved at the earliest, he said. "The status of the claims that have been received so far by the company will also be decided upon," said another source.

In its order on December 3, the NCLT asked the company's administrator to update the list of depositors, along with the amount payable to each of them. Following this, the administrator had reportedly asked all its fixed depositors and bondholders to file their claims by December 17. The NCLT order had also noted that the company has an outstanding unsecured loan of Rs 18,882 crore as of March 31, 2018. The unsecured loans constituted Rs 10,243 crore of public deposits for the same period. Citing governance issues and severe liquidity crisis, the regulator on November 20 superseded the board of DHFL and appointed Subramaniakumar as its administrator.

The decision on DHFL came after the government on 15 November notified Section 227 of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), empowering the RBI to refer stressed financial service providers with an asset size of at least Rs 500 crore to insolvency courts. The central bank has also appointed a three-member committee, consisting of IDFC First Bank Non-Executive Chairman Rajiv Lall, ICICI Prudential Life Insurance Managing Director and CEO N S Kanan, and Association of Mutual Funds in India CEO N S Venkatesh, to advise the company's administrator in the resolution process.

As of July 2019, the beleaguered home financier owes Rs 83,873 crore to banks, National Housing Board, mutual funds and bondholders/retail bondholders. Of the total, secured debt stands at Rs 74,054 crore and unsecured Rs 9,818 crore. Most banks have or are going to declare DHFL account as non-performing assets in the third quarter.

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