- The fear of insolvency action has helped creditors, led by banks, recover Rs 1.1 lakh crore from loan defaulters who were earlier unwilling to clear dues, with promoters of errant companies paying up to avoid losing control
- Last week, the government had said public sector banks were aiming to recover around Rs 1.8 lakh crore from loan defaulters this fiscal year
Two years ago, when the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI) was set up, the regulator wanted to meet bank chiefs but bankers were unwilling, prompting it to seek the Reserve Bank of India’s intervention. But seven bank MDs did not turn up even when RBI convened a meeting with the IBBI brass.
Today, banks are seen to be the biggest beneficiaries of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), enacted to bring rogue borrowers to book. The fear of insolvency action has helped creditors, led by banks, recover Rs 1.1 lakh crore from loan defaulters who were earlier unwilling to clear dues, with promoters of errant companies paying up to avoid losing control, sources told TOI.
So far, 977 cases have been admitted by the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) where either the lenders or the operational creditors, such as suppliers, have sought to initiate action. The number of cases filed is almost four times higher, sources said, but many are withdrawn before they are admitted as the borrower agrees to settle the dues. “It would be wrong to say that all the cases are withdrawn because the debtor pays up, but we are seeing that dues are cleared in a large number of cases once a case is filed,” a senior official said.
Last week, the government had said public sector banks were aiming to recover around Rs 1.8 lakh crore from loan defaulters this fiscal year, which is around two-and-a-half times the amount recovered in 2017-18. Finance minister Arun Jaitley had attributed this to the IBC, which has now explicitly barred promoters of companies whose loans have been classified as non-performing assets from bidding.
While the new law has helped push loan recoveries, in over 42% of cases the 180-day deadline to complete the insolvency resolution process has been missed. While the law allows another 90-day extension, in over a quarter of the ongoing 716 cases the process has not been completed within the stipulated period, data released by IBBI showed.
“Probably, India is the only country where the process has to be completed in a time-bound manner. In the coming months, the situation will improve,” IBBI chairman M S Sahoo told TOI. Officials said the government was in the process of appointing more members to the NCLT benches which deal with insolvency cases.
Data for the June quarter, released a few days ago, also showed that in three of the 12 cases where resolution took place, lenders managed to realise their entire claims. In the MBL InfrastructureNSE 5.25 % case, recovery was almost Rs 1,600 crore against claims of Rs 1,428 crore. At the other extreme was Orissa Manganese and Minerals, where financial creditors managed to get Rs 310 crore of the total claims of Rs 5,388 crore — around 5.75% of the amount due.
This makes Orissa Manganese one of the worst deals for financial creditors, almost at a par with Synergies Dooray Automotive, where only 5.6% of the claims were realised. That case had prompted the government to promulgate an ordinance to bar promoters of companies with loans that have turned into an NPA from bidding.
(This article was originally published in The Times of India)