Monday, 21 May 2018

Cleaning India's bank mess - NPA of Rs 1,00,000 crore may find resolution.


With the debacle of the UPA regime, the people of India were expecting a cleaner, fair and sustainable banking systems. Four years passed, our bank's NPA issues are still haunting us. The Q4 results of all major banks reported a higher NPA growth. Fraudsters like Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi have fled to Hong Kong duping Punjab National Bank, India's second-largest lender of approx Rs 11,000 crores. India's fight in the courts of Hong Kong, UK and other thug-friendly nations have regularly failed in the past. But, not all is gloomy and scary. The major chunks of NPA by companies operating in steel, cement and infrastructure sector are nearing resolution.

Just days before, Tata Group acquired a controlling stake of 72.65 percent in the debt-ridden Bhushan Steel Ltd for around Rs 36,000 crore will help in cleansing the banking system as well as boost lenders profitability. The consortium of state-run banks had the largest exposure to scam-ridden Bhushan Steel.

Of the total exposure to Bhushan Steel, the Punjab National Bank had set aside Rs 1,542 crore as provisions. “While the bank will recover Rs 3,050 crore of the outstanding amount, it will also be able to write off Rs 807.5 crore from the provision it had held for this NPA,” a PNB official said in an interview published by ET. Also, lenders, including PNB, will continue to own 12% in the acquired entity, giving it the opportunity to cash out later when the valuation of the company goes up, the banker added. The State of Bank is likely to get Rs 6,000 crore along with the shares of the entity. Bank of India reported that it would be able to recover Rs 1993 crore from the first successful NCLT recovery of 12 large NPAs.

Last year in June, RBI's internal advisory committee identified 12 accounts, each having more than Rs 5,000 crore of outstanding loans and accounting for 25 percent of total NPAs of banks. Following the RBI's advisory, banks referred Bhushan Steel Ltd, Bhushan Power & Steel Ltd, Essar Steel Ltd, Jaypee Infratech Ltd, Lanco Infratech Ltd, Monnet Ispat & Energy Ltd, Jyoti Structures Ltd, Electrosteel Steels Ltd, Amtek Auto Ltd, Era Infra Engineering Ltd, Alok Industries Ltd and ABG Shipyard Ltd to NCLT. These accounts together have a total outstanding loan of Rs 1.75 lakh crores.

For the acquisition of Essar Steel with NPA of Rs 49,000 crores, Numetal and Arcelor Mittal are having tough competition in the NCLT courts. Bloomberg reported that VTB backed Numetal has made a bid of Rs 37,000 crores in the second round of bidding. ArcelorMittal is understood to have made an upfront offer of Rs 30,500 crore and pledged another Rs 8,000 crore in the form of capital infusion into Essar Steel. It is expected that NCLT may approve the better deal by mid-June 2018.

Lanco Infratech owes INR 45,000 crore to a group of lenders, including ICICI Bank with the exposure of Rs. 7,380 crore and IDBI Bank at Rs 3,680 crore. Thriveni Earthmovers is said to have offered INR 1,400 crore in cash and liability for INR 38,000 crore of debt at the subsidiary level. The bid failed as the company couldn't get creditors vote. It is understood that Lanco Infratech has filed for liquidation.

With the successful resolution of Bhushan Steel, the finance ministry expects that the NPAs of 12 large companies would be cleared in near future and banks would get minimum Rs 1 lakh crore for further lending. Along with clearing NPAs, India's banks need to implement effective credit control mechanism which would result in greater transparency and sustainable financial modelling.

- Chaitanya Kulkarni.

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