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NCLT extends deadline for completion of Insolvency of Future Retail to Aug 17

NCLT extends deadline for completion of Insolvency of Future Retail to Aug 17


NCLT extends deadline for completion of Insolvency of Future Retail to Aug 17

The National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) has extended the deadline for completion of insolvency proceedings of debt-ridden Future Retail Ltd (FRL) to August 17, 2023.

The Mumbai bench has allowed the plea of FRL to exclude 33 days from the corporate insolvency resolution process (CIRP), the company informed in a regulatory filing. “In furtherance of the above, the NCLT on July 17, 2023, heard the application and granted the said exclusion of 33 days’ from CIRP of FRL,” said FRL. It further added: “Consequently, the last date for completion of CIRP of FRL is August 17, 2023.” According to FRL, this is based on an oral pronouncement by NCLT bench and a written order is awaited.

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Earlier in April, the NCLT bench had granted FRL an extension of 90 days till July 15, 2023 for concluding the CIRP. The Insolvency & Bankruptcy Code (IBC) mandates to complete CIRP within 330 days, which includes time taken during litigations. The CIRP was initiated against FRL by NCLT on July 20, 2022, following loan default. As per Section 12(1) of the Code, the CIRP shall be completed within a period of 180 days from the date of initiation. However, NCLT may grant a one-time extension of 90 days. The maximum time within which CIRP must be mandatorily completed, including any extension or litigation period, is 330 days.

Earlier, FRL had said it had received six bids from prospective buyers by May 15, which was the last date for submission of resolution plans. The deadline for submission of resolution plans was May 15, 2023, for 48 companies, which were in the final list of ‘Eligible Prospective Resolution Applicants’. This has happened despite FRL lenders coming with revised Expressions of Interest (EoIs) and inviting fresh bids after dividing its assets into clusters. Future Retail has a debt of around Rs 30,000 crore and the company is going through CIRP. On March 23, 2023, creditors of FRL invited new EoIs whereby prospective buyers can bid for the debt-ridden firm “as a going concern or individual cluster or a combination of clusters of its assets”, as it failed to attract a resolution plan in more than four months.

FRL operated multiple retail formats in both the hypermarket supermarket and home segments under brands such as Big Bazaar, Easyday, and Foodhall. At its peak, FRL was operating more than 1,500 outlets in nearly 430 cities. It was part of the 19 Future group companies operating in the retail, wholesale, logistic and warehousing segments, which were supposed to be transferred to Reliance Retail as part of a Rs 24,713-crore deal announced in August 2020. However, lenders had rejected the takeover of the 19 Future group companies, including FRL, by Reliance amid a legal challenge by Amazon.

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