India

The Delhi High Court on Monday issued notice in a petition challenging Section 10A of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code 2016 insofar as it allows insolvency proceedings against persons and personal guarantors (Getamber Anand vs UOI), the GoaChronicle reported. A Division Bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh sought response from Central government and Insolvency & Bankruptcy Board of India. The petitioner, Getamber Anand, is the Chairman and Managing Director of the ATS Group, a leading real estate group in the Delhi-NCR area.

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When India revamped its bankruptcy code in 2016, some foreign investors were hopeful it would rewrite the rules of capitalism in the country. The big US distressed debt specialist Oaktree Capital was among those that saw opportunities to invest in the country following the attempt to turn one of the slowest insolvency regimes of any large economy into one of the fastest.

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Shares of Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd. dropped after investors expressed concerns over the level of bad loans held by India’s third-largest lender by market value, Bloomberg News reported. The bank’s gross bad loan ratio narrowed to 2.26% at the end of December from 2.55% three months earlier, but this ratio would have been 3.27% if India’s court hadn’t barred financiers from marking soured assets, it said in a filing on Monday. A “disproportionate portion” of the additional problem loans, including those that haven’t been marked as bad debt, are in unsecured consumer retail, it said.
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India’s Supreme Court upheld laws that protect new owners of insolvent companies from charges filed against the previous management in a verdict that could pave the way for faster resolution of big bankruptcies, Bloomberg News reported. A bankrupt company and its assets cannot face criminal proceedings once it is sold to new owners, the Supreme Court said on Tuesday while dismissing petitions challenging the rules. The former management can still be prosecuted.

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India’s troubled shadow banks face mounting challenges to a nascent recovery from the pandemic, with their asset quality set to deteriorate further as flagged recently by the financial regulator, Bloomberg News reported. Non-performing assets already swelled in the most recent data to the highest in at least five years, at 6.3% as of March 2020 even before the worst of the pandemic impact, the Reserve Bank of India said in a report last week. That’s up 100 basis points from the year earlier, and the RBI forecasts it’s headed higher.

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Billionaire Ajay Piramal’s conglomerate won bidding for bankrupt Indian shadow lender Dewan Housing Finance Corp., advancing a keenly watched insolvency that’s been a test of the country’s bankruptcy system, Bloomberg News reported. A resolution plan for Dewan from Piramal Enterprises Ltd.’s own shadow bank, Piramal Capital & Housing Finance Ltd., was approved by Dewan’s committee of creditors in a vote on Friday, according to a statement Sunday. People familiar with the matter had said Friday that Piramal received almost 94% of the votes while rival Oaktree Capital got less than half.

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India’s bankruptcy law faces a vital test as creditor banks vote on a winning bid for the first financial company to go through insolvency resolution, a process pitting US distressed-debt fund Oaktree Capital against India’s Piramal Group, the Financial Times reported. Real estate lender Dewan Housing Finance Corporation, known as DHFL, was the first financial group forced into insolvency in November 2019 after defaulting on about $12bn in debt.

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The decision by India’s highest court on Tuesday to temporarily suspend the implementation of new farming laws at the center of huge protests appeared unlikely to end the weekslong showdown choking New Delhi, as protesting farmers declared the suspension a politically-motivated “trick” to ease the pressure on the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the New York Times reported.

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India has proposed a pre-packaged insolvency option that will allow creditors and debtors to work on an informal plan and then submit it for approval even as the nation braces for a spike in bankruptcies once the freeze on filings is lifted, Bloomberg News reported. The Ministry of Corporate Affairs has invited comments on the proposal that, if accepted, will become part of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016, according to a statement. A sub-committee that suggested the option has recommended to quickly amend the code, preferably by an ordinance, to implement it.
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