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ICICI Bank drags Punj Lloyd to NCLT for insolvency over non-payment of Rs 825-crore loan



Private lender ICICI Bank has dragged infrastructure major Punj Lloyd to National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) seeking insolvency proceedings against the company under Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC). Punj Lloyd reportedly owes Rs 825 crore to ICICI Bank, the non-payment of which led to the development.

In a response to a clarification sought by the Bombay Stock Exchange in the matter, Punj Lloyd confirmed that ICICI Bank has dragged the company to the Tribunal. “We would like to inform you that ICICI Bank Limited (ICICI) has filed an application before the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) under Section 7 of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code,” the company stated in a regulatory filing.

However, Punj Lloyd also mentioned that the 90 per cent of the lenders are in favour of the resolution plan proposed by the company and will oppose ICICI Bank’s appeal before the NCLT. In its Q4 financial report, Punj Lloyd, as part of its financial restructuring towards paring debt and strengthening balance sheet, had submitted a proposal to its lenders for restructuring its debt.

“We would further like to inform that in a meeting of the Lenders of the Company held on June 13, 2018, more than 90 per cent of the lenders have, consequent to the receipt of the required rating criteria by the Company, agreed to support a Resolution Plan under the Leadership of State Bank of India (SBI) for restructuring the outstanding debts of the Company. It was also decided that SBI on behalf of all Lenders shall oppose ICICI application at NCLT. The restructuring proposal is currently being reviewed by the lenders as per the latest RBI guidelines,” the company said in the BSE filing.

The restructuring proposal is currently being reviewed by the lenders as per the latest RBI guidelines. SBI has reportedly opposed the insolvency proceedings on the ground that the mandatory period of 180 days to resolve the debt issue, as mandated by RBI norms, is not over yet.

The application by ICICI Bank was taken up for hearing by the NCLT on Thursday. During the hearing, counsels representing Punj Lloyd and SBI informed the tribunal that most of the lenders are in favour of restructuring of company’s debt, the company further mentioned in the regulatory filing. The tribunal has now asked Punj Lloyd and SBI to file the necessary reply or application in this case. The next hearing will take place on July 24.

“In view of the above, the company is of the view that the application filed by ICICI may not be admitted by the NCL T since more than 90% of the Lenders of the Company are in favour of restructuring the debts,” the filing by Punj Lloyd said.

Meanwhile, ICICI Bank has also initiated forensic audit against Punj Lloyd after taking the company to the NCLT, a report by The Economic Times said. The bank will be taking the services of TS Chadha of the Chadha & Co as the forensic auditor in the matter.

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