Efforts would be made to avoid liquidation of Deccan Chronicle group.

 

The beleaguered Deccan Chronicle Holdings Limited (DCHL), that runs its flagship English daily Deccan Chronicle (DC) and a few other publications, will get some more time for its insolvency process to be completed as the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT)’s Hyderabad bench allowed another opportunity to M/s Srei Multiple Assets Investment Trust to put its revised resolution plan for voting before the creditors.

NCLT’s Hyderabad bench headed by Ratakonda Murali in his ruling on 6 August, ordered Insolvency Resolution Professional (IRP) Mamata Binani to place the revised plan of Srei before a committee of creditors (CoC), consisting of as many as 37 banking and non-banking lenders of the DC group for fresh voting anytime in the coming five to six months.

This extra time has become available to the DC group’s insolvency process as the appellate bench of NCLT in a recent judgment directed that the period between 11 December 2017 and 20 July 2018, be excluded from the period of the Corporate Insolvency Resolution Process (CIRP). This is a clear 230 days additional time from the originally given deadline of 10 July 2018.

It may be noted that Srei, a Kolkata-based investments firm, has already submitted a resolution plan before the IRP in July first week and the same was put to e-voting before the CoC (then with 33 creditors) on 9 July 2018. However, the plan failed to secure the mandatory 66% of votes (the votes decided on weighted average of lenders) and thus was declared rejected.

The Srei, which also holds some equity in the DCHL, submitted a revised resolution plan of Rs 368 crore, in the form of upfront payment plus provision for some other costs, to the IRP the next day, 10 July 2018. The IRP could not place it before the CoC for voting and brought the matter to the notice of the NCLT and sought its permission to do so.

Meanwhile, Srei also moved the NCLT appellate tribunal in Delhi to include them also in the list of CoC as assured creditors as they lent around Rs 320 crore to the DC group over a period of time. The NCLT’s Hyderabad bench earlier rejected the plea on the ground that Srei holds some equity in DCHL. But the appellate bench overruled it and allowed Srei to be included in the CoC.

Now that Srei has become a member of CoC of DC group and it has also submitted a revised resolution plan for DC’s revival, the IRP will have to place the plan before the CoC sometime in the coming weeks. As the IRP is keen on treating the DC group as a “going concern” with around 1,400 employees, efforts would be made to avoid its liquidation, sources in the CoC said.

The IRP has another few months’ time to seek e-voting from the CoC members on the resolution plan of Srei. This time, Srei will also have voting rights on its own plan as a member of CoC.

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