Indebted IL&FS gets lifeline from shareholders

MUMBAI • Troubled Indian shadow bank Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services Ltd (IL&FS), whose recent debt defaults sparked concern about contagion in the nation’s financial markets, secured a lifeline after shareholders approved its plans to raise money through debt and equity.

Stockholders green-lit IL&FS’ plans to raise as much as 150 billion rupees (RM8.69 billion) through a non-convertible debt issue, hike the firm’s borrowing limit by 40% to 350 billion rupees and increase its share capital to enable a rights offering, the company said in a filing.

The firm finances infrastructure projects across the world’s fastest-growing major economy and is considered systemically important by the central bank. Its defaults on commercial paper from August sparked concern among households holding mutual funds invested in such debt, and forced banks and mutual and pension fund managers to brace for further losses.

IL&FS’ investors include biggest Indian insurer Life Insurance Corp (LIC), top lender State Bank of India, largest mortgage lender Housing Development Finance Corp and Japan’s Orix Corp. VK Sharma, the chairman of biggest shareholder LIC, last Friday said the beleaguered group can raise 600 billion rupees by selling assets.

IL&FS on Saturday appointed Alvarez & Marsal to devise a restructuring plan that will be implemented upon approval by the board and stakeholders. — Bloomberg