Sunday, September 04, 2016

Govt offers fin relief to realty cos
[Editor: This is expected to be a sort of boon for the established real estate players like DLF Ltd (Rs.149.90), Unitech Ltd (Rs.5.25), Parsvnath Developers Ltd (Rs.16.80), HCC Ltd (Rs.35.55), etc. who are reeling under high debt burden; with a squeeze on cash flow. I continue to maintain a buy on Unitech Ltd with short term targets of Rs.9-12] 
Sep 1, 2016:  The government on Wednesday announced a package to ease the financial stress on construction companies, including a possible loan restructuring package for the real estate sector — a move that could prompt property developers to resume work on stalled projects.

"The department of financial services and the RBI will try and prepare a policy on how to deal with those companies which have got a lot of stressed assets in the real estate sector. We hope that a series of these decisions would pump in a lot of liquidity in the sector, activate a lot of real estate and infrastructure projects which have been stranded for some time and support the entire process of dispute resolution in relation to construction and real estate," finance minister Arun Jaitley told reporters after the Union cabinet cleared the package.

As reported by TOI on August 26, the package prepared by the NITI Aayog seeks to ensure release of 75% of funds locked up in projects where an arbitration award has been made in favour of a construction company. In case where the award has been challenged, agencies such as National Highways Authority of India would transfer 75% of the award amount into an escrow account against margin free bank guarantee. This amount can be used to repay loans and generate liquidity besides easing the burden on companies.

"HCC will immediately be able to reduce its debt by almost half as a result and will be able to reduce it even further within 12 to 24 months. With this, HCC will be able to participate in country's infrastructure development in a much bigger way," said HCC chairman and managing director Ajit Gulabchand. The company which is under financial pressure has around Rs.3,000 crore caught in disputes with government agencies.

There is gain for individuals too as some of the real estate developers have delayed delivery of projects citing lack of funds.

"If the banks extend the repayment schedule, developers will use the cash flow in completing the projects instead of repaying the loan. This will help the sector and the economy," said ATS Infrastructure CMD Getamber Anand, who is also heads real estate lobby group Credai.

In case of construction companies the government has sought to speed up the arbitration process, Jaitley said. Public sector companies and the government would seek the consent of contractors to transfer cases initiated under the earlier law to the amended act.

And, to avoid a build-up of cases in future, the government also wants its arms to set up Conciliation Committees to ensure speedy disposal disputes.

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