Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Unitech Ltd: Media Enacted Fiasco
CMP: Rs.5.10
Today morning most of the mainstream media came out with this kind of news bulletins:
  • Unitech tells SC it doesn't have money to refund buyers. Court seeks list of buyers who want refund, during next hearing scheduled on Aug 17 - ANI.
  • No money to refund buyers, would have finished project if we had: Unitech in SC, writes the Hindustan Times.
  • Unitech tells the Supreme Court that it doesn’t have funds to pay back the buyers of its two projects in Noida and Gurgaon - - Live Mint.
  • Supreme Court directs Unitech to refund home buyers of Noida project, housing firm expresses inability - - Zee News.
  • Real estate giant Unitech Ltd told the Supreme Court on Friday that it was not in a position to refund money to home buyers who had invested in its projects in Noida and Gurgaon but not got possession of their flats because of delays in construction -- The Times of India.  
These kinds of one / two liners, created a havoc in the share price, the moment the market opened today after a long holiday - - one time hitting the Lower Circuits at Rs.4.92, in the BSE. However, continuous follow up buying by prudent - long - term - investors, lifted the share price a bit during the day,  eventually closing at Rs.5.11, down 16.91% in the BSE. The point to be noted here that, the percentage of Deliverable Quantity to Traded Quantity was whooping at 64.88%;

The company came out with a superb clarification which almost nullified all the above claims, soothing the ruffled hearts of the battered investors. It said: 
Unitech's Counsels statement before Honourable Supreme Court has been misquoted and is not correct. His contention was that the money received from customers has already been invested in land cost and building structures constructed at project site, and therefore, it is not feasible to refund money to the customers.
In fact, in the larger interest, the refund amounts being claimed by the customers can be better utilized for construction and completion of pending projects. The journalists has not appreciated this difference in the argument.
Due to declining real estate prices, some customers are seeking refund of money with interest even if property is ready for possession.
In this case also, the customers had agreed before the Honourable Consumers Forum to take possession of property with 12% interest for delayed period, but now seeking refund of their money with interest before Honourable Supreme Court.
Now, you tell me who will be responsible for such mis-reporting (or should we say motivated reporting?), which led to the destruction of shareholders' wealth in matter of few hours? The Regulators should take note of the same and warn such media houses, which presents simple news in fabricated forms. 

Anyway, if tomorrow (17 August, 2016) , the two-judge bench gives an adverse judgement against the company, I feel Unitech Ltd might go for higher Supreme Court benches (Special Leave petition or SLP); as the current demand from the consumers (buyers) seems to unjustified, in view of the fact that the customers had earlier agreed before the Honourable Consumers Forum to take possession of property with 12% interest for delayed period. 

Unitech Ltd has 300 million (30 crore) sq.ft of land, spread out across India. Now, we can easily find out the valuation of the land parcels if we only take around Rs.2000 per sq.ft. Its debt is around Rs.7200 Cr, which is nothing as compared to its assets. 

I am therefore, expecting the share price of Unitech Ltd (Rs.5.11) to again head towards Rs.7-9, in the August-October rally - - stay put.  
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