Sunday, July 21, 2024

49 players including Reliance, Adani & Jindal Power show interest in Future Retail

As many as 49 players including Reliance Retail, Jindal Power Ltd., and Adani group have submitted Expression of Interest (EoI) for acquiring the assets of debt-ridden Future Retail, which is currently going through insolvency resolution process.

Reliance Retail Ventures Ltd., which is the holding company for retail operations of RIL and April Moon Retail Private Ltd, a joint venture between Adani Airport holdings and Flemingo group have again submitted their EOI, after the lenders of Future Retail decided to invite fresh bids after dividing FRL’s assets into clusters.

According to an update from FRL’s Resolution Professional, the 49 players would be permitted to submit “resolution plan(s) for any/all such Clusters under Option II.”

Some of the other players who have submitted Expression of Interest (EoI) include Century Copper Corp., Greentech worldwide, Harsha Vardhan Reddy, J C Flowers Asset Reconstruction Pvt Ltd., Pinnacle Air Pvt Ltd., Universal Associates and WHSmith Travel Ltd among others.

On March 23, 2023 creditors of Future Retail invited new expressions of interest where prospective buyers can bid for the debt-ridden firm “as a going concern or individual cluster or a combination of clusters of its assets,” as it failed to attract a resolution plan in over four months.

Earlier, it had received EOI and finalised 11 prospective bidders including Reliance and April Moon Retail, but could not get a resolution plan despite two extensions in deadline for submissions.

The Committee of Creditors had provided two options in the EoI, for which the last date for submission was April 7, 2023.

In the first option, the Prospective Resolution Applicant (PRA) could bid for the acquisition of Future Retail as a whole, including its shareholding interest in its subsidiaries.

While under the second option, Future Retail’s business has been distributed in five clusters diving business, in which PRAs can bid for “any individual cluster or any combination of clusters.” Giving its reasons, the new EOI had said “having regard to the complexity and scale of operations of FRL, the resolution professional has, in consultation with and prior approval of the CoC of FRL, categorized the business of the corporate debtor in five clusters.” CIRP was initiated against FRL by its lender Bank of India after it defaulted on loans.

As per the provisions of the Insolvency & Bankruptcy Code, expression of interest was invited from prospective bidders on October 04, 2022.

Later, it was reissued and the submission date was extended for the Resolution Plan and a final list of 15 PRAs was published on November 15, 2022.

Earlier on March 15, FRL had informed that almost one and a half months after resigning from the suspended board of FRL, Kishore Biyani has withdrawn his resignation.

This came after the RP had raised objections to the contents of Biyani’s resignation letter and had requested him to recall it.

FRL operated multiple retail formats in both the hypermarket supermarket and home segments under brands, such as Big Bazaar, Easyday, and Foodhall. At its peak, FRL was operating over 1,500 outlets in nearly 430 cities.

It was part of the 19 Future group companies operating in the retail, wholesale, logistic and warehousing segments, which were supposed to be transferred to Reliance Retail as part of a ₹24,713-crore deal announced in August 2020.

However, lenders had rejected the takeover of the 19 Future group companies, including FRL, by Reliance amid a legal challenge by Amazon.

Last year in August, stock market regulator SEBI ordered a forensic audit of the accounts of FRL for the financial years 2019-20, 2020-21 and 2021-22.

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