In a surprising turn of events, retail tycoon Kishore Biyani has made a 476-crore offer to lenders led by Canara Bank for a one-time settlement (OTS) of the 571 crore debt owed by Bansi Mall Management Co Pvt. Ltd. (BMMCPL), which owns the SOBO Central Mall in Mumbai. 

According to a report by Economic Times, Biyani’s offer comes just days after creditors had approved a 475-crore bid from Runwal Group through an auction process. 

Biyani approached the Debts Recovery Tribunal (DRT) last week, challenging the lenders’ decision and offering to settle the debt himself. “Biyani has been in touch with lenders but has become more active after this bid from Runwal was accepted by lenders. He has offered to now beat the Runwal bid and approached the court for the same. Lenders are now waiting for what the court says in a hearing slated for later this month,” said a person privy to the offer, as quoted by Economic Times.

Livemint could not independently verify this new development.

Notably, lenders had already received 47.5 crore, or 10% of the bid amount, from Runwal Group last week. However, Biyani’s plea in the DRT had temporarily halted the process. The Runwal Group declined to comment on the matter, the report added.

SOBO Central Mall, Mumbai’s oldest mall with a total leasable area of 1,50,000 square feet, has faced challenges due to the emergence of new shopping destinations and the COVID-19 pandemic. The mall currently has only one tenant, a McDonald’s joint, and a significant portion of its real estate was leased to Future Group companies, which themselves were facing financial distress, as per the report.

According to the report, Canara Bank and Punjab National Bank (PNB) are the primary lenders to BMMCPL. Canara Bank is the lead lender with 131 crore of outstanding loans, and PNB holds primary dues of 90 crore. 

“Biyani’s bid is backed by a large real estate and retail developer which probably sees potential in the development of this commercial property in South Mumbai. Since lenders already have a serious bidder in the queue, Biyani will have to put some cash on the table before his offer is considered serious enough,” said a second person aware of the details, as quoted by Economic Times.

The report added that the lenders hope the four-storey commercial building’s redevelopment potential will attract real estate investors and help them recover their dues.

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Published: 19 Mar 2024, 10:39 AM IST



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