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Thursday,22-October-2020

Business

Offered Rs 14K cr to banks as settlement: Vijay Mallya’s UB tells SC

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Fugitive liquor baron Vijay Mallya’s United Breweries (Holding) Ltd on Wednesday told the Supreme Court that it had offered over Rs 14,000 crore to various banks to settle its dues and that the company’s assets exceeded its total debt.

Senior advocate C.S. Vaidyanathan, appearing for United Breweries, submitted before a bench comprising Justices U.U. Lalit, Vineet Saran and S. Ravindra Bhat that the response of the banks had been received.

He contended that since the company’s assets exceeded the total debt, it was not the case wherein the company should be directed to wind up.

He insisted that the Enforcement Directorate (ED) had attached many assets of the company, as a result of which none was available to the banks.

“The total amount offered is over Rs 14,000 crore whereas the total due amount is Rs 6,203 crore plus interest. But the allocation has been only Rs 430 crore,” Vaidyanathan contended.

He added that not a single attached property had been actually attached by the ED since 2009.

Vaidyanathan said that the petitioner was the guarantor though the loans were taken by Kingfisher and others.

The submissions were made during hearing of United Breweries’ plea to challenge the Karnataka High Court order to uphold the winding-up of the company.

The counsel submitted that not a single asset had been acquired since 2009 when bank loans were allegedly siphoned off overseas. In response, Justice Lalit queried: “Has the attachment order been challenged?”

The counsel said that an appeal was filed in the Prevention of Money Laundering Act Tribunal, adding that they were told that the attachment order was for satisfying debts and the bulk of assets were in the form of shares.

He argued that the PMLA probe revealed that a major part of the total money sanctioned by the IDBI Bank was remitted outside India, and used for payments for aircraft and spare parts.

The investigation concluded that IDBI loans were not backed by marketable commodities, while orders for provisional attachment were passed on the ground of involvement in money-laundering, Vaidyanathan said.

Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi, representing the State Bank of India, submitted that the appeal was devoid of merits.

In the last hearing, the apex court had queried whether a company’s attached assets could be considered for liquidation for the settlement of debt. The bench will hear the matter on Thursday.

Business

Madras High Court doesn’t permit Wadhawans to sell its assets: 63 moons

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Madras-High-Court

63 moons technologies have said the Wadhawans are restrained from selling or alienating or encumbering even an inch of their assets as per the directions of the Madras High Court.

The company has urged the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) to arrest Kapil Wadhawan, the jailed promoter of crisis-hit mortgage lender DHFL, for offering his personal and family properties worth over Rs 43,000 crore as repayment of outstanding to the Reserve Bank of India.

“Since DHFL promoters’ assets are already attached by investigative agencies and there is an injunction regarding the same by the Madras High Court, this offer is shocking to say the least,” 63 moons stated.

Notably, DHFL promoter Kapil Wadhwan, accused of siphoning off thousands of crores of public money for personal gains, has made a surreptitious settlement offer to the RBI administrator, to settle the claims by transferring his rights, title and interest in at least ten projects that he claims are valued at Rs 43,879 crore.

A report of Grant Thornton, commissioned by the Resolution Professional of DHFL, contains findings of siphoning of Rs 20,000 crore of lenders’ money to the promoters of DHFL and to entities owned or controlled by them.

In view of these serious issues, 63 moons said, the immediate arrest and custodial interrogation of Kapil Wadhwan under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act by the ED and SFIO will help verify these facts as also to unravel the source and colour of the huge funds and assets he claims to possess and has offered towards the so-called settlement of corporate liability.

The very fact that Kapil Wadhwan has now declared such huge assets when, in fact, he has never disclosed previously any of this personal wealth, points to the fact that he has, in all probability, siphoned off this huge amount from DHFL and laundered it by projecting it as his or his family’s property.

While he is enlarged on bail in the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) investigation, 63 moons said, all agencies, including the EOW, the ED and the SFIO need to get to the bottom of his financial dealings and reveal from where he has mopped up such a huge amount and assets! This cannot happen unless he is arrested and interrogated in custody.

With Kapil Wadhwan making the settlement offer publicly, 63 moons asked him to explain the source of funds to the EOW, the ED and the SFIO. Describing it as a matter of huge concern for those who have lost their monies, it noted that out of the reported claims of Rs 94,900 crore, lenders may face a haircut of Rs 65,000 crore since no bidder has offered more than Rs 20,000 crore to acquire the crisis-hit DHFL under the IBC.

Every investor, creditor and lender of DHFL therefore has right to know, if the Wadhawans have moved attached DHFL properties into their personal names or if they have earlier refrained from disclosing certain high value assets to the law enforcement agencies and the judiciary for which custodial interrogation by the ED and the SFIO is a must, according to 63 moons.

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Business

Real estate sentiments improve in July-September: Report

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Real-Estate

The pandemic-hit sentiments among the real estate stakeholders improved in the July-September quarter, according to a report.

The 26th Knight Frank-FICCI-NAREDCO Real Estate Sentiment Index Q3 2020 Survey has demonstrated significant improvement in future sentiments scores, for the next six months.

“The ‘Future Sentiment Score’ for Q3 2020 is in the optimistic zone at 52 points, up from 41 in the previous quarter,” said a Knight Frank India statement.

Further, the ‘Current Sentiments Score’ — for the past six months — also recorded a significant improvement from the previous quarter low of 22 points to 40 points in Q3 2020.

It noted that the revival in sentiments can be attributed to the upturn seen in the real estate business, especially in the residential segment, in the third quarter of 2020 as a result of the unlocking process.

A score of above 50 signifies ‘Optimism’ in sentiments, a score of 50 means the sentiment is ‘Same’ or ‘Neutral’, while a score below 50 shows ‘Pessimism’.

Shishir Baijal, Chairman and Managing Director of Knight Frank India said, “An increase in real estate activities has been a great morale booster for the sector. Quarter 3, 2020 (July-September) saw residential sales volumes increase to 55 per cent of pre-Covid levels, showing signs for revival. Low home loan rates and discounts/ attractive offers for residential homes, have pushed sales velocity in the third quarter.”

“Even while the volumes are yet to catch up to the pre-Covid levels, the spurt has been instrumental in perking up sentiments. Similar positivity is visible for the office sector as well, where we have seen a revival of leasing activities,” he said.

Baijal added that the return of end -users in the market, especially in the residential segment is a matter of cheer for the entire sector, as it indicates economic confidence and long-term commitments. The festive season in Q4 2020 is likely to further support the revival of the real estate sector.

“We are hoping that the government and allied agencies will encourage this growth with more supportive decisions,” he said.

Niranjan Hiranandani, National President, NAREDCO was of the view that the housing demand is expected to rebound strongly due to the pent-up demand on the parameters of safe and secured investment. The buyers are reaping the accrued benefits of lower stamp duty and lower risk weightage on home loans now linked to the loan-to-value ratio by the RBI.

“The consumption cycle has once again moved back into an optimistic zone salvaging the economic recovery. This will lead to economic recovery followed by real estate revival. This revival will improve employment and resuscitate GDP growth by 2021,” he said.

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Swiggy onboards 7K new restaurants, delivers over 10 cr orders

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Swiggy

Online food delivery platform Swiggy on Thursday revealed it has onboarded more than 7,000 new restaurants a month on Swiggy which is 3,000 more than the pre-covid times, along with delivering 10 crore orders since the beginning of the lockdown.

Nearly 6,000 new restaurants are small and medium restaurants compared to 3,500 in the pre-covid era and there has been a five-fold increase per month in onboarding fine-dine restaurants for online deliveries, Swiggy said.

“Our pan-India food delivery has recovered around 80-85 per cent of pre-Covid order value. In many markets, it is at 95 per cent, some even over 100 per cent,” the company said in a statement.

In the IPL 13 season, Swiggy is seeing major cities reaching pre-covid recovery values.

During the ongoing cricketing season, the Tier 2, 3 cities have performed exceptionally well recording a double-digit growth over the first weekend itself, the company informed.

Bengaluru, Mumbai, Hyderabad are the most active metro cities while Ahmedabad, Jaipur and Lucknow are the most active tier-2 cities this cricket season.

“Almost over 200 cities have now reached 90 per cent of their pre-Covid GMV (gross merchandise value) levels with more than 70 cities seeing a full recovery to their pre-Covid levels,” Swiggy said.

Certain micro pockets within the country have also reached 200 per cent of their pre- COVID value.

Big food delivery markets such as Bengaluru and Chennai are seeing very fast recovery.

However, due to a lot of the customers migrating from these metros into tier 2 and 3 cities, they have reached their 80 per cent GMV levels.

“With offices resuming operations, we can expect the working population to migrate back to the metros in the near future and reach full recovery,” Swiggy said.

Swiggy’s Jumpstart Package has supported over 50,000 restaurants in the last four months.

“Over 15,000 restaurants have leveraged Jumpstart for the ‘Best Safety Standards’ tag and over 10,000 restaurants leveraged it for boosting their business,” it said.

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