SC – The New Indian Express

By Express press service

MUMBAI: The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to pass an interim order preventing banks from taking enforcement action against Future Retail (FRL) for missing a payment due on December 31. However, he asked the FRL and the bankers to find a solution within two weeks or else he would place an order, an FRL spokesman said.

“The Court has ordered the bankers and the FRL to find a solution within two weeks before the hearing resumes,” the spokesperson said. “Banks also said that Amazon is offering Rs 7,000 crore but it doesn’t work for them because their total exposure (to FRL) is Rs 17,000 crore.”

The banks are of the view that FRL assets should be openly offered by Amazon and RIL with Rs 17,000 crore as reserve price, sources said. Assets could be offered to whoever makes the highest bid. FRL, the sources added, would work with the banks to come to a solution, after which SC would hear and place an order.

FRL had asked the Supreme Court to stop lenders from declaring the company an NPA in light of ongoing litigation with Amazon. FRL defaulted on payment of Rs 3,494.56 crore to lenders under a one-time restructuring plan by December 31, 2021 as it was unable to “complete the monetization of the business specified as provided for in the OTR plan, due to ongoing litigation with Amazon.com NV Investment Holdings LLC,” he told the exchanges.

Amazon, which indirectly holds a stake in FRL, objected to the sale of FRL’s assets worth Rs 25,000 crore to RIL on the grounds that it violates contractual non-competition clauses.

Tana T. Thorsen