Insolvency resolution timelines at Future Retail will likely be extended by a month, possibly to January 15, as several interested buyers for the debt-ridden company have sought more due-diligence time and clarity on the quantum of verified creditor liabilities, executives at two selected bidders told ET.
The original deadline for submission of final bids was December 15. A court-appointed resolution professional has selected 13 entities as potential bidders for Future Retail on November 20 after they submitted expressions of interest (EoIs), with none of the interested parties drawing objections from any quarter.
EoI Deadline Extended in October
Executives cited above said they would need more time for due diligence. Furthermore, the verification process for the amounts claimed by various Future Retail creditors is not yet complete.
“So, a request was made to the resolution professional to extend the timeline,” one of the two executives cited above said.
An email sent to the resolution professional remained unanswered until the publication of this report.
This would be the second extension in the sale process. In October, the resolution professional had extended the last date for prospective buyers to submit EoIs by nearly two weeks due to a somewhat circumspect bidding interest back then.
Reliance, Adani JV in Race
The selected potential bidders include Reliance Retail Ventures, April Moon Retail (a joint venture between Adani Group and Flemingo Group), WH Smith Travel and Dharampal Satyapal.
The list of potential bidders also includes Bommidala Enterprises, Capri Global Holdings, a consortium between B-Right Real Estate and Ayekart Fintech, Dickey Alternative Investment Trust, Nalwa Steel and Power, a consortium between Payard Investments and Gordon Brothers International, Shalimar Corp, SNVK Hospitality and Management, and United Biotech.
The latest document filed by the resolution professional on November 30 on Future Retail’s website showed financial creditors, which include banks and financial institutions, have made claims of Rs 21,555.24 crore, of which Rs 19,433.8 crore has been verified. Around Rs 1,917.26 crore of claim amount has been rejected, while Rs 204.17 crore of claim amount is in the process of being verified.
The document said the list of claims will be further verified and updated.
“This is not the final list of financial creditors; (the) process of verification is still underway… In certain cases, requisite supporting documents have been sought and are awaited from the claimants concerned,” it said.
Similarly, the process for arriving at the final claims is not completed for operational creditors: These include statutory dues, and dues to suppliers, brands and employees.
For instance, the uploaded document shows about Rs 638.75 crore is claimed as statutory dues, of which Rs 33.15 crore is currently admitted and Rs 592.29 crore is still under verification.
The balance claim amount is either not admitted or is classified under contingent claim.
Future Retail has 302 stores (30 large-format and 272 small-format outlets), but footfalls have dropped drastically at the outlets being operated due to poor inventory and warehousing space. Some of the outlets have also been shut down. This is after Reliance Industries in February shuttered over 950 Future Group stores after the latter defaulted on rent payments for these locations, which were sub-leased to Future by Reliance.
Reliance subsequently started its own stores in these locations under new branding.