Home / Companies / News /  New IL&FS board meets, discovers the extent of complexity

Mumbai: The government-constituted board tasked to revive debt-laden Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services Ltd (IL&FS) said its new board is “committed to an objective process to make a fair assessment of facts, acting in the interest of different stakeholders with a view to rebuild trust".

Uday Kotak, chairman of the newly formed board, however did not say how IL&FS will repay its immediate debt obligations. He was addressing a news conference after a five-hour long board meeting of IL&FS.

IL&FS, the parent company of the infrastructure and financing group, will see maturity of 835 crore of commercial paper (CP) by March 2019, out of which 250 crore of CPs will come up in December, according to a private placement prospectus issued by the company in May.

Kotak said IL&FS is a extremely complex corporate with 348 entities that are part of the group, far higher than the initial estimate of 169 subsidiaries. “At this stage, we are not taking a view," he said. “We’re listing options that are available as the next step. We have several options available and you will see them unfold," he said, without elaborating.

Kotak sought to assure stakeholders that the board is committed to re-building trust, bring clarity on the road ahead and take decisions in an open, fair and objective manner.

On the current nervousness in the credit markets prompted by IL&FS’s string of defaults, Kotak said: “At times like this, what really affects markets is uncertainty but at the same time you don’t want to pre-empt that clarity without coming to a clear view."

Also at the news conference, Vineet Nayyar, the new managing director and vice-chairman of IL&FS, said the board has no immediate plan to change the management, which has been called out off late in the press for high salaries.

IL&FS has stated debt of over 91,000 crore but Kotak declined to confirm the figure. He said the debt estimate that the board has is of March 2018, which is bound to rise as time passes.

Kotak said the legal challenges are numerous, the debt is significant but the board was committed to “complying with the law" in all resolutions while also finding commercial justification. The board is due to submit its roadmap to the NCLT by 31 October.

“We have a sense broadly of what directions and options we need to go in," Kotak added.

Kotak said the board has formed 4 statutory committees: audit committee (Nand Kishore, Malini Shankar and C.S. Rajan), the nomination and remuneration committee (G.C. Chaturvedi, N.S. Rajan and Uday Kotak), the stakeholder relationship committee (G.N. Bajpai, G.C. Chaturvedi) and the corporate social responsibility committee (Malini Shankar and Vineet Nayyar).

On the ongoing SFIO investigation, Nayyar said it was understandable given the complexity of the company and its subsidiaries but, unlike the case of Satyam Computers, with IL&FS, “there is no evidence of felony so far."

A press release from the government on Monday said it had noted corporate deficiencies, misrepresentation of the lender’s financial fragility and loss of credibility by its former management. A report from the corporate affairs ministry’s Mumbai regional director has “clearly brought out serious corporate related deficiencies in the IL&FS holding company and its subsidiaries," said the statement. It also said the consolidated financial statement of IL&FS holding company and its arms and joint ventures “projected a picture through highly exaggerated depiction of non-current assets in the form of intangible assets amounting to over 20,000 crore," said the statement.

The SFIO is expected to submit its interim report on its investigation in a month.

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