Religare Finvest Limited likely to revive its Business by March 2020

New Delhi [India], Jan 30 (ANI/NewsVoir): Religare Finvest Limited (RFL), which has been one of the leading SME financing platforms in India with a peak loan book of Rs 16,000 crore (Cr) has said today that the company is looking forward to completing the entire process of the DR plan with the support of the banks and regulators by March 2020, subject to the regulatory approvals.

Details of the Comprehensive Revival Plan:

Debt Resolution Plan (RP): In order to sustainably address the asset-liability mismatches, restructuring of Rs 5,852 Cr of debt was proposed by the new management as per the RBI Circular dated 7th June 2019 under the Change in Control clause, which will keep the account of RFL standard. Out of the entire debt of Rs 5,852 Cr, 51 per cent is sustainable debt and the balance 49 per cent is unsustainable.

Both tranches are secured and for the unsustainable debt, the entire principal will be repaid over a period of time. The Company has made a lot of progress in the recovery of underlying assets which are secured towards unsustainable debt and on implementation of the RP, the same would be paid to the lenders.

This will substantially reduce the overall NPV loss to the lenders (estimated at less than 20 per cent). Lenders had referred the resolution plan to the overseeing committee (OC) of IBA and the OC has provided their recommendations on the RP. The company is in advanced stages of obtaining the required approvals from its Lenders.

Change in Control: Identification and onboarding of new investor for effecting the 'change in control' clause as envisaged under debt resolution, as well as bringing in additional equity into the company. Binding offer from The Chatterjee Group (TCG) was secured on 10th July 2019 and the Share Purchase Agreement (SPA) executed on 1st October 2019. RBI's approval for change in control is awaited for completion of the transaction.

"If the debt restructuring plan gets approved, it will be the first such instance of an RP being approved in record time under the ICA platform, in terms of RBI's June 7, 2019, circular and we will be the first NBFC to have achieved this," said Dr Rashmi Saluja, Non-Executive Chairperson of Religare Enterprises Limited.

"We are hopeful, that by March 2020, with the support of the banks and regulators, we will be able to complete the entire process of the DR plan, by when all milestones should fall into place, subject to regulatory approvals. We are confident, that our long term vision for the revival and sustainability of Religare Finvest will be achieved soon,'' Dr Saluja added.

The company has been going through difficult times in the recent past on account of mismanagement and misappropriation of funds, orchestrated by the erstwhile promoters. Following this, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had placed RFL under a Corrective Action Plan (CAP) in January 2018 (as a precautionary measure, to prevent further pilferage of funds) which entails prohibition on RFL from the expansion of its credit and investment portfolios.

Subsequently, the shareholding of the erstwhile promoters has dropped to less than 1 per cent in Religare Enterprises Limited (REL). The company has already applied to the Stock Exchanges to classify the erstwhile promoters as public shareholders.

Thereafter, in early FY19, Religare Finvest Limited (RFL) underwent a complete revamp of its Board of Directors and the new Board, comprising entirely of Independent Directors, hired new management to professionally manage the Company. The new management has since been striving to revive the company by resolving its asset-liability mismatch and bring the capital adequacy to desired regulatory levels.

There was an urgent need to bring REL out of its legacy issues and several steps were taken by the new Board and the management in addressing all of this. The revamping of the Boards has also helped revive stakeholder's confidence including regulators, investors, bankers etc.

Despite being under Reserve Bank of India's Corrective Action Plan (CAP), which prohibits doing new business, majority banks were kept standard till 30th September 2019 and Company repaid close to Rs. 5,600 Cr. to banks till December 2019. The Company had proposed a debt resolution plan in March 2019, well ahead of the RBI circular of 7th June 2019.

"The efforts of the new management have resulted in favourable developments which include, setting up the right corporate governance & hiring of professionals, enhanced engagement with the regulators, including RBI, in providing timely updates and submissions and implementation of the Comprehensive Revival Plan for the company which primarily includes the Debt Resolution Plan (RP) and change in control," said Sanjay Palve, CEO, Religare Finvest Limited.

Dr Saluja further said, "We are working on all the best practices required to rebuild the business, mobilize fresh capital and correct the transgression & legacy issues of the past. The management and internal controls at the Group and all subsidiaries have also been revamped, bringing in much-needed assurance to stakeholders and employees about stable, professional and action-oriented management."

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