The lenders to debt-ridden Lavasa Corporation have decided to invite fresh bids for India’s first privately-built smart hill city near Pune. The financiers of the project, would now be terminating the former bids for Lavasa and will invite fresh bids, since the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) has ordered consolidation of bankruptcy proceedings against all subsidiaries of Hindustan Construction Company (HCC), the parent company of Lavasa Corp.
The move by the lenders, including Axis Bank and State Bank of India (SBI), comes after bidders like Haldiram and Oberoi Realty offered only Rs 5 crores as upfront money for acquisition of a project that would require over USD 1.5 billion for completion. The debt-ridden company currently owes Rs 7,700 crores to its lenders.
In August 2018, the NCLT accepted an application of HCC that sought the commencement of insolvency proceedings against its real estate arm, Lavasa Corporation, under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC). The NCLT appointed Devendra Prasad as the interim resolution professional (IRP) and ordered the committee of creditors to provide a resolution plan within 270 days.
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What happened to Lavasa?
Planned for a population of three lakh people, Lavasa City by Lavasa Corporation is a joint venture between HCC (68.7%), Avantha Group (17.18%), Venkateshwara Hatcheries (7.81%) and Vithal Maniar (6.29%). The company has already built over 2,200 apartments and villas, hotels and numerous amenities and services under the project, which is one-fifth of the size of greater Mumbai.
According to HCC, construction work at the hillside project was severely impacted by an Environment Ministry notification in 2010, to stop work for jurisdictional reasons. “The consequent delay of 1.5 years, in obtaining clearances, affected the project and brand Lavasa in many ways. Operations slowly came to a standstill due to paucity of working capital and caused Lavasa’s investors and partners to also step back or defer their investment plans,” HCC had then said.
Lavasa Corporation to face insolvency
Construction firm HCC’s real estate firm Lavasa Corporation will face insolvency proceedings, with the NCLT admitting the plea of lenders of the debt-ridden realty firm
August 31, 2018: In a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), construction firm HCC, on August 30, 2018, said that the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) has admitted a plea filed by operational creditors, who initiated Corporate lnsolvency Resolution Process (CIRP) against Lavasa Corporation, under the lnsolvency and Bankruptcy Code. Lavasa Corporation, a real estate arm of HCC, is developing a hill city ‘Lavasa’, near Pune in Maharashtra. The NCLT appointed Devendra Prasad as Interim Resolution Professional (IRP).
“Lavasa is a very special urban development project and an initiative well ahead of its time. While shareholders’ interests have been sacrificed, we are hopeful that the pioneering efforts to grow Lavasa into a thriving smart city, will now find stewardship in the hands of a new owner, enabled by NCLT,” HCC director and group CEO, Arjun Dhawan said. A swift resolution through IBC would benefit all stakeholders, especially customers, who have patiently supported Lavasa through this tumultuous period, he added.
Lavasa was initiated as per the Maharashtra’s government policy and regulations for new hill stations, as India’s first privately-built smart city. Lavasa Corporation Ltd is promoted by Hindustan Construction Company with 68.7 per cent per cent stake. Avantha Group has 17.18 per cent per cent stake, while Venkateshwara Hatcheries has 7.81 per cent stake and Vithal Maniar 6.29 per cent stake.
Lavasa has made substantial progress in building substantial infrastructure, over 2,200 apartments and villas, hotels and numerous city amenities and services, including an international convention centre. HCC said the project was severely impacted by, an Environment Ministry notification to stop work for jurisdictional reasons and not for environmental infractions. “The consequent delay of 1.5 years in obtaining clearances, affected the project and brand Lavasa in many ways. Operations slowly came to a standstill, due to paucity of working capital and caused Lavasa’s investors and partners to also step back, or defer their investment plans,” HCC said.
A resolution plan was submitted to revive the Lavasa project but the same was not accepted by the lenders, the company said. “Now, under the ClRP process, the resolution professional and Committee of Creditors will take charge of Lavasa management and shall work towards the implementation of a resolution plan within 270 days,” the filing said.
(With inputs from PTI)