Asia

A single-member bench of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) can’t hear and decide on a company when the law requires a division bench, including both judicial and technical members, to constitute the adjudicating authority, The Economic Times reported. Indore-based Indison Agro Foods Ltd, which is facing insolvency resolution by Allahabad Bank in the Ahmedabad NCLT, had approached the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT), seeking appellate tribunal’s intervention for referring the matter to a division bench.

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The Department of Telecommunications has moved the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal challenging UV Asset Reconstruction Co.’s Rs 6,630 crore resolution plan for the bankrupt cellular operator Aircel Ltd, arguing that the plan doesn’t address the “huge amount” of dues owed by the company against fees for telecom license and right to use spectrum, BloombergQuint reported. The appellate tribunal has directed the parties to file affidavits within five days and will next hear the matter on Sept. 11.

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India Suffers Covid-19 Double Whammy

The wrecking power of Covid-19 was on clear display today as India announced a new world record for daily infections followed by a 23.9 per cent plunge in gross domestic product for the second quarter — the biggest contraction of any major Asian country, the Financial Times reported. India’s economy was already in a weak state before the virus hit, but the world’s biggest lockdown further hammered sectors such as manufacturing and construction and brought business activity to a near standstill.

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Indonesia’s second-largest lender by assets says the nation’s companies are set to demand more loans, as they scoop up assets made cheaper by the pandemic, Bloomberg News reported. Some buyers are interested in assets that have become available after the virus and measures to stem it hurt Indonesia’s economy, Alexandra Askandar, corporate banking director at PT Bank Mandiri, said in an interview last week. Growth in loans to large businesses will likely accelerate in the second half from an expansion of 3.4% in the first six months, she said, declining to give an exact target.

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Markets regulator Sebi on Monday asked credit rating agencies not to consider as default the restructuring of debt done solely due to COVID-19 related stress by lenders, The Economic Times reported. The move comes after the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) provided a loan restructuring window for corporates following bankers' and industry's demand. As per RBI, restructuring will be allowed as per the prudential framework issued on June 7, 2019.

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Seven Thai airlines are seeking a combined 24 billion baht ($770 million) in low interest loans and other support measures, the government said on Friday, joining carriers across the world in requesting state help to weather the coronavirus crisis, Reuters reported. Airline executives made the request to Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, aiming to maintain liquidity and avoid layoffs, the government said in a statement. “The government will consider the requests from the airlines and find ways to support operations, including unlocking air travel, and boost domestic tourism,” Prayuth said.

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India’s Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will meet commercial banks and shadow lenders on Thursday to review implementation of loan restructuring programs following Covid-19 related stress, Bloomberg News reported. The meeting comes days after a debt payment holiday offered by the Reserve Bank of India’s ends. The central bank has since relaxed bad loan classification rules by allowing lenders the power to restructure certain loans. Banks are struggling to accelerate credit growth and are confronting a mounting bad debt pile that’s set to swell to a two-decade high.

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Low-income countries face long-term scarring that could undo gains in cutting poverty achieved over the past seven to 10 years because of damage from the Covid-19 pandemic, the International Monetary Fund said, Bloomberg News reported. “Absent a sustained international effort to support them, permanent scars are likely to harm development prospects, exacerbate inequality, and threaten to wipe out a decade of progress reducing poverty,” Daniel Gurara, Stefania Fabrizio, and Johannes Wiegand, economists at the Washington-based institution, wrote in a blog Thursday.

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The Finance Ministry has asked public sector banks to monitor cases where insolvency proceedings could be initiated against individuals who are guarantors of corporate debtors that have defaulted on loans, The Tribune reported. The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) provides for a time-bound and market-linked resolution of stressed assets. The Code also provides for initiation of insolvency proceedings against personal guarantors of corporate debtors, even though the provision has not been used much by lenders to recover dues.

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An Indian court on Thursday halted insolvency proceedings against Reliance Group chairman Anil Ambani, the younger brother of India’s richest man, and barred him from disposing of any of his assets, Reuters reported. Anil Ambani, who runs a business group separate from his billionaire brother Mukesh Ambani, had filed a plea with the Delhi High Court challenging the appointment of a resolution professional over a roughly 12 billion rupee ($163 million)personal guarantee that he had given to the State Bank of India for loans to his companies.

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