As many as 48 companies, including Reliance Retail, Jindal Power Ltd and Adani group, are in the final list of eligible prospective resolution applicants for acquiring debt-ridden Future Retail Ltd.
The Resolution Professional of Future Retail Ltd (FRL), which is currently going through an insolvency resolution process, on Monday came out with the final list of 'Eligible Prospective Resolution Applicants'.
On April 10, FRL's RP updated a list of 49 companies, which had submitted Expressions of Interest (EoIs) after the company's lenders decided to invite fresh bids after dividing its assets into clusters.
Some of the other players who had submitted EoIs include WHSmith Travel Ltd, Sahara Enterprises, Century Copper Corp, Greentech worldwide, Harsha Vardhan Reddy, J C Flowers Asset Reconstruction Pvt Ltd, Pinnacle Air Pvt Ltd and Universal Associates.
Except Bommidala Enterprises, an Andhra Pradesh-based manufacturer of tobacco products, all companies have been included in the final list. Bommidala Enterprises indicted that it will not be submitting a resolution plan.
Earlier this month, the Mumbai-based NCLT bench had granted FRL an extension of 90 days till July 15, 2023 for concluding the Corporate Insolvency Resolution Process (CIRP).
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On March 23, 2023, creditors of FRL invited new EoIs whereby 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 more than four months.
Earlier, it had received EoIs and finalised 11 prospective bidders, including Reliance and April Moon Retail, but could not get a resolution plan despite two extensions in the 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 FRL as a whole, including its shareholding interest in the subsidiaries.
Under the second option, FRL's business has been distributed into five clusters and PRAs can bid for "any individual cluster or any combination of clusters".
"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, categorised the business of the corporate debtor in five clusters," as per the new EoI.
CIRP was initiated against FRL by its lender Bank of India following loan defaults.
Under the Insolvency & Bankruptcy Code, EoI was invited from prospective bidders on October 4, 2022.
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 more than 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 Rs 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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