Future retail lenders want to sell assets
Indian department store chain lenders Retail of the future told the country’s Supreme Court that the channel’s assets would have to be auctioned off to cover missed payments. Indian department store chain lenders Retail of the future told the country’s Supreme Court that the channel’s assets would have to be auctioned off to cover missed payments.
It was the latest wrinkle in an ongoing legal battle between Future and Amazon, which bought a stake in the company in 2019.
As Reuters reported on Thursday (February 3), lenders also said they had started classifying loans to the retailer – India’s second largest – as non-performing and would need to make combined provisions of 80 to 90 billion rupees (or $1.1 billion to $1.2 billion) due to the chain’s non-payment.
“Let it be put out to an open tender… That’s the only solution”, Rakesh Dwivedian attorney representing about 30 of Future’s lenders, told the Supreme Court justices, citing ongoing litigation between Future and Amazon.
From there, Dwivedi added, Amazon and Reliance — another company hoping to buy Future Retail — could bid on the chain’s assets. Reuters notes that the court did not rule on the matter. Future declined to comment.
Future had planned to sell its retail assets to Reliance for $3.4 billion, but the sale was blocked by Amazon in arbitration and in court, with the retail giant arguing that Future had violated the contractual non-competition conditions.
Future said it could not pay the 35 billion rupees ($470 million) owed to lenders because the legal battle with Amazon prevented it from selling some of its smaller stores.
Read more: Delhi High Court denies Future’s effort to outlaw Amazon arbitration
Last month, Future Retail asked a New Delhi court to declare arbitration proceedings with Amazon unlawful, arguing that India’s antitrust agency had suspended the 2019 deal that Amazon used to assert its power over Future. before it is taken into account in the arbitration. The court ultimately dismissed the retailer’s claim.
India’s Competition Commission suspended Amazon’s 2019 deal with Future late last year, saying Amazon withheld information while seeking approvals for the deal.
The arbitration between Amazon and Future is being handled by a panel in Singapore, but the two sides have also fought a legal war in India to seek the enforcement or reversal of some of the arbitrator’s decisions.