The promoter of Videocon Industries Ltd (VIL), Venugopal Dhoot, has approached the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) to seek its intervention to stop inviting expression of interest by the resolution professional (RP) of the company. The promoter of the Aurangabad-based group has cross-shareholdings in every company and an expression of interest at this stage in any company that is under the insolvency proceedings can harm the prospects of other companies as well Dhoot has sought to defer the resolution processes of all group companies, including Videocon Industries and 13 other subsidiaries of the group, before the Mumbai bench of NCLT as the decision of the principal bench is awaited. Venugopal Dhoot is the personal guarantor in respect of all the loans. He is also a former director in all the companies besides being the shareholder and hence he is wearing three hats for the companies, argued Zal Andhyarujina, counsel for Dhoot. We have already made an application to consolidate all the companies into one matter at the principal bench. All we need is to stop accepting any expression of interest for any company till the bench decides on the consolidation, he said.
The counsel appearing for the resolution professional said that he did not have an issue with clubbing the resolution processes of all 14 companies once the clarification comes from the principal bench as it will lead to maximization of the value of the assets. At present, there is no clarity on dealing with the insolvency which involves the entire group, including several subsidiaries and businesses. Also, the biggest lender of the group, State Bank of India, which has filed the insolvency pleas against Videocon, also agreed to the proposal only if there is a common 270-day deadline for all the group companies. The single bench of NCLT presided over by M.K. Shrawat had reserved the order after hearing all the parties. The tribunal had admitted the insolvency petition against the Videocon Industries Ltd on 7 June. According to Videocon’s FY17 annual report, the company is liable to repay the liability of other group companies to the extent of ₹5,082 crore as on 31 March 2017. The company’s total debt stood at ₹19,506 crore as of March last year.