Crisis-hit DHFL makes partial payment of Rs 150 crore for commercial papers

Dewan Housing Finance
Crisis-hit mortgage lender Dewan Housing Finance (DHFL) made partial payment of Rs 150 crore for its unsecured commercial papers (CPs) that matured on Tuesday. The housing finance company (HFC) managed to settle 40 per cent of the Rs 375 crore that was up for maturity.

In its exchange note, the company said that it would pay the 'default' amount of Rs 225 crore over the next couple of days once the surplus cash flow position improves.  

While it couldn't be ascertained which investors managed to get their dues, data showed that mutual funds (MFs) had Rs 190 crore exposure to the CPs that matured on Tuesday. At the end of April, schemes belonging to DSP MF had exposures to these CPs. Also, L&T Money Market Fund and IDBI Ultra Short Term fund held these papers. "Some of the schemes have already taken 100 per cent mark down on their exposure to DHFL CPs, so the impact on the schemes' net asset value may vary," said a fund manager.

The company informed exchanges that 12 investors had exposures to these CPs.

Re-iterating its asset monetisation plans, DHFL said, "The company is already in the process of selling down its loan assets including wholesale project loans to make good all its obligations and maintain its 100 per cent commitment to all its creditors as it has done since the liquidity crisis started in September 2018."

Further, the company has sold off its stake in two of its subsidiaries – Aadhar Housing Finance and Avanse Financial Services – to improve its liquidity position.

DHFL highlighted that even though its CPs have faced sharp rating downgrades, it has demonstrated its ability to honour its debt commitments. "Pursuant to the downgrade by rating agencies expecting a default for the CPs much before they had fallen due, the mutual funds had already taken a 100 per cent markdown on their CP investments. However, even post these downgrades, the company continued to meet its obligations of CP holders and made good a total of Rs 375 crore of CPs before today”, DHFL said.

Earlier, the credit rating agencies had downgraded DHFL’s CPs worth Rs 850 crore to default grade after it had missed on its interest obligations related to its debentures. However, it paid off the interest obligations within the seven-day cure period.

Things started going downhill for the mortgage lender when IL&FS in September 2018 defaulted on its debt obligations because of huge asset liability mismatch and fear crept in the minds of investors that housing finance companies  such as DHFL and may also default on their debt obligations. Shares of DHFL tanked, despite the management ensuring everything was all right and that it was meeting all debt obligations.

Because of liquidity constraints after the IL&FS default, disbursal of loans by mortgage lenders fell drastically. Disbursal of DHFL in Q3 of FY19 saw a 95 per cent decline as it disbursed merely Rs 510 crore. In Q4, the situation worsened for DHFL with allegations levelled against the promoters of the company of siphoning off funds by an online portal. This prompted the company to commission an internal audit by an independent auditor. 

Business Standard is now on Telegram.
For insightful reports and views on business, markets, politics and other issues, subscribe to our official Telegram channel