ICICI Pru MF, HDFC MF receive payments from Essel Group; exposure reduced

Essel Group's logo (Source: Wikipedia)

Two asset management companies ICICI Prudential Mutual Fund and HDFC Mutual Fund — on Tuesday said they have received payments to the tune of Rs 437 crore from Subhash Chandra's Essel Group.

Individually, ICICI Prudential MF has got Rs 270 crore as repayment and interest from the Essel Group, while the same for HDFC MF has been pegged at Rs 167 crore.

With this repayment, ICICI Prudential Mutual Fund's exposure to Essel Group has come down to nil.

"Pursuant to the sale of shareholding by the promoters of ZEEL, ICICI Prudential Mutual Fund has received repayment of the total principal amount invested along with the accrued interest thereon. Subsequently, as on date, none of the schemes of ICICI Prudential MF have any investments in debt instruments issued by the promoter group companies of ZEEL," the fund house spokesperson said.

HDFC MF said that the company holds certain non-convertible debentures (NCDs) of the Essel Group that are secured by a pledge of listed equity shares. The carrying value of these NCDs as at September 30, 2019 was Rs 275.63 crore.

"The company has received a total of Rs 166.86 crore towards part repayment of the said NCDs and interest thereon, from the issuer through sale of certain listed equity shares comprising part of the collateral. The value of the residual pledged listed equity shares as at November 25, 2019 is Rs 143.95 crore," the fund house informed the stock exchanges.

On Monday, Subhash Chandra resigned as chairman of his flagship company Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (ZEEL) with immediate effect. He will remain the company's non-executive director, which he founded in 1992.

His resignation came at a time when the debt-ridden group is looking to further divest promoters' stake in the company to repay the debts

Essel Group on November 20 had said it is planning to sell 16.5 per cent stake in its flagship ZEEL to financial creditors to meet its loan repayment obligations.

In September, the group had sold 11 per cent stake in ZEEL to Invesco-Oppenheimer fund for over Rs 4,224 crore and then retired debt worth Rs 4,000 crore.

Atlanta-based Invesco already held 7.74 per cent stake in ZEEL since 2002.

Promoter and promoter group shareholding in the company went down to 22.37 per cent in the quarter ended September 30, from 35.79 per cent in the quarter ended June 30.

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