Mumbai: Drug maker Wockhardt Ltd on Thursday informed the Bombay high court that it had decided to clear the dues to its bondholders, amounting to Rs 358 crore, including interest, in instalments and will give a detailed repayment plan to the court on 4 October.
The high court is hearing a winding-up petition against the firm filed by a group of foreign currency convertible bond (FCCB) holders, led by Singapore-based hedge fund QVT Financial LP and an overseas unit of rival drug maker Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd, after Wockhardt defaulted on redemption of $110 million (Rs 538 crore today) in October 2009.
A spokesperson confirmed that Wockhardt has given a written statement to the court.
A spokesperson from Sun Pharma, the parent of one of the aggrieved bondholder, Sun Pharma Global, which holds around 20% of Wockhardt’s FCCBs, declined to comment on the development.
Earlier this month, the high court had asked Wockhardt to give a timeline for repaying the FCCB bondholders. The court had said that if the company was unable to adhere to the schedule, then it will proceed with the winding-up of the firm. In March, the court had asked Wockhardt to deposit an amount of Rs 115 crore with the court as security against the liability towards the bondholders.
After incurring losses on foreign currency derivatives in 2008, Wockhardt had to sell some of its assets to repay lenders and meet other liabilities. The company, which had a debt of about Rs 3,800 crore then on its books, including the FCCBs, went through a corporate debt restructuring (CDR) programme.
While a section of investors in the FCCBs, mainly Indian banks and a few other institutional investors, had reached a settlement with Wockhardt by restructuring the tenure of the bonds they held, a few others including QVT and Sun Pharma didn’t agree with the terms. These investors hold $42 million worth of bonds and nearly half of it—$20 million—is held by Sun Pharma’s overseas unit.
Wockhardt needs to raise Rs 790 crore from the sale of its non-core assets according to the CDR plan approved by its lenders. The company sold its nutrition business to French food multinational Danone SA to raise $356 million in August, more than the required amount, but the deal is still awaiting approval from the court and the bondholders.