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Yes Bank debenture trustee moves HC on RBI proposal to write-down AT-1 bonds

PTI     March 9, 2020

Axis Trustee Services Ltd, a debenture trustee of Yes Bank, on Monday petitioned the Bombay High Court against the Reserve Bank of India's (RBI) proposal to write-down additional tier-1 (AT1) bonds.     

The petition is likely to be taken up for hearing by a division bench of Justices K K Tated and S K Kotwal later this week.     

The debenture trustee has sought relief against the proposal made by RBI as part of its plan to rescue the private sector lender, which has been put under a moratorium last Thursday.     

A day after putting it under moratorium, the RBI had come out with a draft of the SBI-led restructuring package, which entails writing-down of over Rs 8,600 crore outstanding to AT-1 bondholders.     It cited global practices adopted in the Basel framework for the move.     

Inclusion of this condition has led to massive unease among the investors, which include mutual fund houses and bank treasuries.     The deadline for public comments on the draft ended on Monday evening.     

The petition was mentioned by the trustee's lawyer on Monday before the bench, which asked them to inform RBI, Yes Bank and the Union government about filing of the petition.     

The petitioner later wrote a letter to the respondent parties informing them about the plea.     

"In view of the fact that the matter is sub-judice, you (Government and RBI) are requested not to precipitate any action to the prejudice of the AT-1 bondholders," the letter reads.     

While such a move has caused unease among the AT-1 bondholders, some industry experts have opined the nature of the instrument is such that the interest of the investors become obsolete in cases of adversities and have also pointed to the premium paid to such holders on coupon rates.

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