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Next set of NPAs must have credit rating: RBI

Next set of NPAs must have credit rating: RBI
Tough to comply with the norm, say bankers

Aresolution plan finalised for the next set of stressed assets identified by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will be subject to a rating requirement if the plan for resolving their bad debts falls outside the scope of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC).

The central bank has conveyed to the banks that if any resolution plan is finalised outside the ambit of the IBC, the residual debt would have to be rated as investment grade by two external credit rating agencies for bank loan rating.

In case the plan fails to get the rating, the accounts would be referred for resolution under the IBC before December 31.

Though there has been no official communication to the companies regarding this rating requirement, they have been informally informed about this by the lenders, who would appoint credit rating agencies for this.

The RBI, in its letter dated August 28, reminded banks about the resolution of non-performing assets (NPAs) other than the 12 identified for immediate reference for resolution under the IBC, by December 13. If the deadline of December 13 is not met for the accounts, a list of which has been drawn up by the central bank, it would be referred for resolution under the IBC by December 31.

The rating requirement is being viewed by different stakeholders differently. “Earlier, the RBI had given a list of 12 companies for resolution and the latest letter is basically a follow-up on that. The consortium of lenders will take a view on each of the companies. For other companies too, quite a few could go to the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT), as most of the accounts have been declared NPAs. If the credit rating exercise is done, there is no question of a good rating,” UCO Bank Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer R K Takkar said. A company which was understood to be on the second list of the central bank, however, said that the intention was to confirm that the debt was sustainable and it would not translate into another postponement in resolution.

“The bigger issue is whether the lenders want to finalise a resolution outside the IBC. They have basically three options: Restructuring the loan, selling it to an asset reconstruction company, or go to the NCLT. Whether the banks want to exercise any option outside the IBC will probably emerge sometime in October and then they will have close to two months to finalise,” the company said.

An interim resolution professional also said that a credit rating would ensure the resolution plan was implemented and didn’t fail.

The first 12 accounts were responsible for one-fourth of the bad loans in the banking system, or about Rs 2 lakh crore.

The next set of 40 accounts might have caused bad debts of about Rs 2.5 lakh crore.

The Business Standard, New Delhi, 11th September 2017

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