Linklaters and TT&A - Understanding the new Insolvency Code – Part I: Debt restructuring for corporate debtors

This is the first of a two-part series on the new Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 of India, which was approved by the Indian parliament in May 2016 and received Presidential assent on 28 May 2016. This note deals with the debt restructuring process contemplated under the Code for corporate debtors with a view to re-establishing the debtor as a viable economic entity. The second part will deal with the changes made to the liquidation rules for corporate debtors. Introduction The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (the “Code”), India’s new insolvency law, is close to coming into effect. The Government has placed a great deal of importance on this law, especially in the context of its ease of doing business in India campaign. The Code assumes great significance in the current credit scenario in India. Non-performing debt and corporate leverage are at unprecedented levels. The Reserve Bank of India (“RBI”) has emphasised that banks must recognise and deal with this issue, and has sought to provide banks with the impetus and tools to do so. Global banks are subject to difficult conditions in their home jurisdiction and credit growth globally remains muted. Against this background, set out below is a snapshot of current mechanisms available to deal with distressed debt and how the Code fits into, and changes, that framework. The existing legislative framework is a patchwork of legislation governing personal bankruptcy and different aspects of corporate insolvency. This has permitted stakeholders to approach diverse adjudication forums and has encouraged forum shopping which, in turn, has caused severe delays in achieving resolution of the insolvency process. Overall, the fragmentation of laws and multiple adjudication forums has made it very difficult for the insolvency and restructuring process in India to produce efficient outcomes. Read more.