Haldiram, 2 others in race to buy out Lavasa for about Rs 2,046 cr

Lenders to Lavasa Corporation are set to decide on Thursday on the three offers made for the beleaguered realty company by food major, Haldiram Snacks, the Pune-based builder, Aniruddha Deshpande, and UV Asset Reconstruction Company (UVARC).

Haldiram has offered to take over 100 per cent of Lavasa by infusing Rs 2,046 crore through a consortium of Haldiram Snacks, Pioneer Facor IT Infradevelopers, and Sansar Property LLP. This consortium has already participated in the revival process of Bakemans Industries, Kwality, and Temptation Foods, according to a presentation made by it to banks.

A top banking source said Deshpande, who owns City Corporation, a Pune-based real estate firm, is yet to submit details on his source of funds, and has made a Rs 250-crore offer. Nor has his plan outlined any upfront funds to be paid to financial creditors. Deshpande was one of the original promoters of the hill-city project and later sold his stake to HCC. 

The third bidder, UVARC is credited with notable turnaround cases like Majestic Hotels, Mitra Gyan Shiksha Samiti, and Tea Exchange Bharat. The ARC had also acquired 14 accounts on a security receipts basis for sum of Rs 1,053 crore which includes the likes of DSC, Electro Steels, Deccan Chronicle, KMP Expressway, Dhanbad Durgapur Super Connectivity, and James Hotels.

Promoted by HCC, Lavasa was set up as a picturesque hill station near Pune in Maharashtra in 2000. It defaulted on Rs 4,150 crore in loans to banks after the environment ministry stopped the project in 2010. 

In August 2018, it was referred to the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT). Lavasa has 10,514 acres of land including 455 acres of land, on lease (as on March 31, 2018) which has attracted the offers. 

“The new investor would require an additional investment of Rs 10,000 crore to revive the project”, said an HCC official.

In FY19, HCC wrote off its entire investment of Rs 1,046 crore in Lavasa Corporation after it was referred to the NCLT.  The company fully accounted for the contingent liabilities to Lavasa lenders, including corporate guarantees and 'put-options’. The total impact of these write-offs was close to Rs 1,531 crore.

After the failure to implement a financial restructuring and resolution plan approved by the Joint Lenders Forum (JLF) in 2015 due to a deadlock among lenders, the JLF came up with a Strategic Debt Restructuring plan for Lavasa on September 20, 2017.

The company then tried to rope in an investor to help revive Lavasa, but the subsequent Reserve Bank of India’s February 12, 2018 circular on the resolution of stressed assets saw the SDR being withdrawn. Later, an operational creditor of Lavasa filed application before the NCLT for admission of Lavasa under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Code.


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