In declaring the names of prospective investors, Yes Bank might just have given rise to more speculation rather than ending it. If the markets were looking for a name to ascertain the validity of the offers, some names are perhaps baffling.
The largest investor listed by Yes Bank is Erwin Singh Braich/SPGP Holdings at $1.2 billion. While there is not much information available in public domain regarding Braich’s investments, he is referred to as Canada’s first Sikh billionaire. Braich, 63, is the founder of The Braich Group of Companies and Trusts and was subjected to bankruptcy proceedings in 1999.
According to the website https://erwinsinghbraich.com/, Braich took over the family business at the age of 20 when his father passed away on his 65th birthday on 21 May, 1976. After a few years, he turned to business activities around the globe chiefly focused in Eastern Europe.
“A protracted divorce, family maintenance payments, and child custody battle had already begun, as well," says the website, adding that bankruptcy proceedings against him commenced coincidentally just days after he had been named the Indian Businessman of the Year on 15 May, 1999.
“Erwin's undischarged bankrupt status has now lasted approximately 20 years. Despite obvious legal hurdles, the stigma, collusion and conspiracy to financially obstruct and injure commercial and business activities by culpable parties, and other impediments, in the last twenty years (as an undischarged bankrupt), Erwin has built a remarkable global portfolio of assets utilizing Family Trusts," it said.
Interestingly, according to a statement on briefingwire.com, a press release distribution website, dated 29 September, 2015, Braich had made an offer to acquire control of Karnalyte Resources Inc. a publicly traded company in Canada.
Next day, Karnalyte Resources said contrary to certain statements made in the Braich Press Release which suggest otherwise, no binding agreement has been entered into by Braich and Karnalyte with respect to such investment. Meanwhile, Gujarat State Fertilizers and Chemicals Ltd held a 38.7% stake in the company as of December 2018. The current status of Braich’s offer could not be immediately ascertained.
According to the Braich’s website cited above, a multi-season, mini-series is at present being developed which would deal with the life of Braich and his father and on the issue of immigration into North America.
Then, there is Hong Kong-based SPGP Holdings that had bid for bankrupt Indian garments company Reid & Taylor earlier this year but was unable to put in the earnest deposit money of ₹2 crore. A PTI report on 14 January regarding the insolvency hearing of Reid & Taylor said that the bankruptcy tribunal had directed the Employees Welfare Association of Reid & Taylor to produce the certified financial accounts of SPGP for 2017-18.
The documents submitted by SPGP showed the company’s net worth as ₹ 7 crore against its claim of around ₹ 70 crore in an affidavit filed earlier. Reid & Taylor India, owned by the Kasliwal family-run S Kumar Group, owes over ₹ 4,100 crore to lenders, PTI said.
On 1 November, Yes Bank CEO Ravneet Gill had told a small group of reporters that the North American family office (with a $1.2 billion offer on the table) invested in financial services companies as well as energy assets in other parts of the world but has not invested in India. That apart, its term sheet also includes a letter from a “large US-based financial institution" saying that the investor has the ability to take the deal forward, Gill had said.