NCLT approves Piramal’s DHFL offer

Tribunal says approval subject to final NCLAT ruling, SC’s judgement on Kapil Wadhawan’s plea

The National Company Law Tribunal on Monday approved the Piramal Group’s bid for bankrupt-DHFL, subject to certain conditions.

The NCLT’s Mumbai-bench, chaired by H P Chaturvedi and Ravikumar Duraisamy, said the approval is subject to the final ruling from the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal and the Supreme Court’s judgement on Kapil Wadhawan in the matter.

‘More to FD holders’

In its order, NCLT asked DHFL’s Committee of Creditors (CoC) to consider giving more money to small fixed deposit holders under the approved resolution plan.

“We are not remanding the plan back to CoC, we respect their commercial wisdom,” the bench said.

NCLT also rejected former DHFL promoter Mr. Wadhawan’s plea to get access to a copy of the resolution plan.

On May 25, the NCLAT had stayed the direction of NCLT asking the lenders of DHFL to consider the offer by Mr. Wadhawan. The appellate tribunal had also clarified that its order should not deter NCLT from deciding on approval for the resolution plan selected by the CoC.

NCLAT’s direction had come on an urgent petition moved by the Union Bank of India on behalf of the CoC. On May 19, NCLT had asked the RBI-appointed administrator of DHFL to present the settlement plan offered by Mr. Wadhawan to the CoC.

In January, the CoC voted to accept the Piramal Group’s ₹37,250 crore offer under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC).

‘Positive trendsettter’

Welcoming the NCLT ruling, the Piramal Group said, “This is one of India’s largest IBC proceedings, and the very first in the financial sector. In that regard, it is an important and positive trendsetter for the future. The approval from NCLT is a significant milestone in DHFL’s resolution and an affirmation of the sanctity of the IBC process”.

Last year, Mr. Wadhawan had made his settlement offer. The offer was rejected by the CoC, citing lack of credibility and the valuations attached to the proposed asset sales. Mr. Wadhawan had proposed repaying lenders by selling assets.

In November 2019, RBI had referred DHFL — then the third-largest pure-play mortgage lender — for resolution under the IBC.

DHFL had gone bankrupt with more than ₹90,000 crore in debt to various lenders, including banks, mutual funds and individual investors who kept fixed deposits with the company.

DHFL’s shares would be delisted from stock exchanges post acquisition by Piramal Capital and Housing Finance, sources told PTI.

(With inputs from Lalatendu Mishra in Mumbai)

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