Lenders look to sell Future Retail’s small stores to recover over Rs 3k-crore dues – The Economic Times

Clipped from: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/services/retail/lenders-look-to-sell-future-retails-small-stores-to-recover-over-rs-3k-crore-dues/articleshow/88908351.cms?utm_source=ETTopNews&utm_medium=HPTN&utm_campaign=AL1&utm_content=23Synopsis

Banks led by the State Bank of India may soon invite expressions of interest for the small format chains – Easyday in Northern India and Heritage Fresh in Southern India, they said.

Lenders ofFuture RetailNSE 1.16 % are likely to seek buyers for the small-format stores to recover dues amounting to Rs 3494.5 crore after the Kishore Biyani promoted hypermarket failed to honour payments scheduled on 31 December, said two people aware of the matter.

Banks led by the State Bank of India may soon invite expressions of interest for the small format chains – Easyday in Northern India and Heritage Fresh in Southern India, they said.

The lenders may take this step since the account would be classified as a non-performing loan if the payment does not come through during the grace period that ends on January 30 as per the one-time restructuring scheme signed between them and Future Retail in April 2021.

Future Retail was unable to sell these stores to a third party since it had agreed to sell them to Reliance Industries-linked companies as part of an arrangement dated August 29, 2020. However, the deal has been delayed due to a series of litigations between Future group and Amazon.com over allegations of breach of the shareholder agreement.

Lenders Look to Sell Future’s Small Stores to Recover over ₹3k-cr Dues

Due to the litigation, the long stop date of the agreement with Reliance was extended to March 31, 2022. Until then, the Future Group is bound by the 2020 agreement withReliance IndustriesNSE 0.15 % and thus cannot sell the stores to others. But this does not prevent lenders from attempting to sell small-format stores since they are part of collaterals against the loan, the people said.

Amazon may attempt to block any attempt to sell the small-format stores by seeking a stay order. Currently, it is seeking to block Future Group’s proposed deal with Reliance Industries claiming its earlier agreement with Future Coupon bars Future Retail from selling its assets to Reliance Group entities.

“For lenders, this is a last-ditch attempt to prevent the account from slipping into NPA on January 30,” said a banker.

Future Retail did not respond to the request for comment.

In a notice to the stock exchange on January 1, the company had said that it “would cooperate to complete the monetisation of the specialised business within 30 days as per directions of banks to resolve the current issue.”

Future has 800-850 small-format stores across India contributing about 20% of Future Retail’s earnings, a third person said.

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