Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Andhra Bank takes possession of two Deccan Chronicle properties
[Editor: It is to be noted that the Media company's properties in Chennai, Bangalore are worth Rs.160 crore--this will improve the confidence of the investors towards the banking sector. Meanwhile, according to a leading financial daily, the Multilateral funding agency Asian Development Bank (ADB) today said it is planning to raise funds by issuing rupee denominated bonds. Earlier this month, the World Bank group member International Finance Corporation (IFC) raised Rs.1,000 crore (USD 160 million) in the US from its first offshore sale of rupee bonds. It was believed that the IFC offering would provide some relief to the rupee against the US dollar]

November, 207, 2013: Andhra Bank on Wednesday said it had taken possession of two properties worth Rs 160 crore belonging to Deccan Chronicle Holdings Limited (DCHL) to recover its loan.

The Hyderabad-based media company, which owes over Rs 200 crore to the bank, had failed to repay the same in November last year.

The action comes close on the heels of a ruling by the Andhra Pradesh high court in favour of Kotak Mahindra Bank allowing it to sell the printing press premises of DCHL in case the management fails to repay the loan -- about Rs 100 crore -- within three months.

"We have forcefully taken possession of the two properties, one each in Bangalore and Chennai, under the sections of the Sarfaesi Act (Securitsation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Securities Act). The combined value of these properties is about Rs 160 crore," S K Kalra, executive director of Andhra Bank, told Business Standard.

About seven months ago, the bank had filed a petition in the Hyderabad Debt Recovery Tribunal (DRT) seeking recovery of loan from DCHL and subsequently also issued notices to the company under the Sarfaesi Act.

The Sarfaesi Act allows banks and financial institutions to auction properties (residential and commercial) when borrowers fail to repay their loans. It enables banks to reduce their non-performing assets (NPAs) by adopting measures for recovery or reconstruction.

Kalra said the bank was hopeful of clearing all the legal hurdles before reaching the stage of auctioning these two properties. The bank took possession of these properties 8-10 days ago, according to him.

Earlier this year, the DCHL management had admitted it owed about Rs 4,000 crore to various banks and financial institutions. Most of these were short-term loans.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had initiated a probe into company's financial activities in March this year after Canara Bank lodged a formal complaint saying the DCHL management had committed irregularities in availing and utilising the loans, including mortgaging of the same property with multiple lenders.

A host of company's lenders had also initiated legal action against the management soon after Mumbai-based Future Capital accused DCHL in July last year of transferring the shares they have had a lien on against Rs 170 crore loan.

'Going aggressive on loan recovery'

The executive director said they had decided to aggressively pursue the Sarfaesi route to recover corporate loans apart from seeking other legal remedies. The bank has been reeling under huge NPAs leading to higher provisioning. It had reported a 78% dip in net profit in the second quarter ended September, 2013 at Rs 70.65 crore as compared with Rs 325.63 crore in the corresponding period in 2012.

"We have taken possession of a Rs 33-crore worth property belonging to one more loan account. We expect to see some big recoveries in the coming days. Only the big corporate loans become a problem when it comes to recovery," Kalra said.

Courtesy: The Business Standard