Friday, January 03, 2014

Banks likely to restructure Shree Ganesh’s Rs 2.5k-cr debt
MUMBAI: Nearly two dozen lenders to Shree Ganesh Jewellery House, a Kolkata-based jewellery maker, are likely to approve restructuring of the company's Rs 2,500 crore of debt, three bankers said. "Banks are planning to refer it to the CDR (corporate debt restructuring) cell," one of the bankers quoted above told ET. "We will shortly take the final decision on this. We are discussing the matter and are in touch with the company management." Restructuring refers to relaxation of the original terms and conditions of a loan agreement when a borrower fails to repay the debt.

CDR cell is a platform where lenders jointly draw a scheme of repayments in such cases. An email and calls made to Shree Ganesh did not elicit any response. State Bank of India, the country's biggest lender, has an exposure of about Rs.660 crore to the company. The jewellery maker's loan account has not yet turned a non-performing asset (NPA) as it falls short of the 90-day non-payment cycle by a few days, banks said.

Some lenders to Shree Ganesh are a little apprehensive over the genuineness of an export transaction of Rs 250 crore entered by the company in the form of bill discounting. They plan to raise the issue in the next meeting. "Banks are still judging it," said one of the three bankers quoted earlier. "If it is proved to be fraudulent, we will review the entire case.

One of their offshore clients is refusing to oblige as it claims it did not receive exported goods." RBI governor Raghuram Rajan had, on Monday, said that in case of malfeasance, borrowers should not be allowed to restructure loans. Rating company Care pointed at credit quality concern for Indian banks. Deterioration in asset quality continued to be the major concern for banks, especially public sector banks, Care said in a note released on Wednesday. "Slowdown in the overall economy and high interest rates have affected the debt repayment capacity of the borrowers," the note said. According to an estimate, gross bad loans of 40 listed banks rose 37% year-on-year to Rs.2.3 lakh crore as of September.