From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Not much.
Mains level : Paper 3-How IBC has fared so far?
The IBC has started emerging stronger as it delivered on its promise, passed the constitutional muster, earned global recognition and became the preferred option for stakeholders in case of default.
Demystifying the myths surrounding IBC
Myths about recovery:
Most of the myths surround recovery. Consider the following example for quick appreciation.
- M/s. Synergies Dooray was the first company to be resolved under the IBC. It was with the Board of Industrial and Financial Reconstruction (BIFR) for over a decade.
- The realisable value of its assets was Rs 9 crore when it entered the IBC process. It, however, owed Rs 900 crore to the creditors.
- How much did IBC recover? The resolution plan yielded Rs 54 crore for them.
- Some condemned IBC because the resolution plan yielded a meagre 6 per cent of the claims of the creditors, disregarding the fact that they recovered 600 per cent of the realisable value of the company, which had been in the sick bed for over a decade.
- If the company was liquidated, assuming no transaction costs, the creditors would have got at best Rs 9 crore — 1 per cent of their claims.
The myth that recovery under IBC is dismal
- Let’s examine the myth that the recovery through resolution plans is dismal.
- Two hundred companies had been rescued till December 2019 through resolution plans.
- They owed Rs 4 lakh crore to creditors. However, the realisable value of the assets available with them, when they entered the IBC process, was only Rs 0.8 lakh crore.
- The IBC maximises the value of the existing assets, not of the assets which do not exist. Under the IBC, the creditors recovered Rs 1.6 lakh crore, about 200 per cent of the realisable value of these companies.
- Why creditors had to take a haircut? Despite the recovery of 200 per cent of the realisable value, the financial creditors had to take a haircut of 57 per cent as compared to their claims. This only reflects the extent of value erosion that had taken place when the companies entered the IBC process.
- What is the conclusion? As compared to other options, banks are recovering much better through IBC, as per RBI data.
The myth that IBC is sending companies for liquidation:
- What is the primary objective of IBC: Recovery is incidental under the IBC. Its primary objective is rescuing companies in distress.
- More number of companies sent for liquidation: There is a myth that although the IBC process has rescued 200 companies, it has sent 800 companies for liquidation. The number of companies getting into liquidation is thus four times that of the companies being rescued.
- The context for the numbers: Numbers, however, to be seen in context. The companies rescued had assets valued at Rs 0.8 lakh crore, while the companies referred for liquidation had assets valued at Rs 0.2 lakh crore when they entered the IBC process.
- Looking from the value term angle: In value terms, assets that have been rescued are four times those sent for liquidation. It is important to note that of the companies rescued, one-third were either defunct or under BIFR, and of the companies sent for liquidation, three-fourths were either defunct or under BIFR.
The myth that IBC is resulting in huge job losses
- The next myth is that the IBC is resulting in huge job losses through liquidation. It is misconstrued that 600 companies — for which data are available and which have proceeded for liquidation — have assets (and consequently employment) at least equal to the aggregate claim of the creditors — Rs 4.6 lakh crore.
- Unfortunately, they have assets on the ground valued only at Rs 0.2 lakh crore.
- Take the examples of Minerals Limited and Orchid Healthcare Private Limited, which have been completely liquidated. They owed Rs 8,163 crore, while they had absolutely no assets and employment.
- What matters in this context is the assets a company has or the employment it provides — not how much it owes to creditors.
- The IBC process would release the idle or under-utilised assets valued at Rs 0.2 lakh crore, which would have dissipated with time, for business and employment.
- One also needs to consider the jobs saved through the rescue of 80 per cent of the distressed assets, and the job being created by these companies, post-rescue.
What changes IBC has brought?
- Changed the behaviour of debtors: A distressed asset has a life cycle. Its value declines with time if the distress is not addressed.
- The credible threat of the IBC process, that a company may change hands, has changed the behaviour of debtors.
- Debtors are settling debt at an early stage: Thousands of debtors are settling defaults at the early stages of the life cycle of a distressed asset.
- They are settling when the default is imminent, on receipt of a notice for repayment but before filing an application, after filing the application but before its admission, and even after admission of the application.
- These stages are akin to preventive care, primary care, secondary care, and tertiary care with respect to sickness. Only a few companies, who fail to address the distress in any of these stages, reach the liquidation stage.
- Value erosion at the liquidation stage: The value of the company is substantially eroded, and hence some of them would be rescued, while others are liquidated.
- The recovery may be low at this stage, but in the early stages of distress, it is much higher — primarily because of the IBC.
- The percentage of companies or distressed assets getting into liquidation is insignificant.
- Stakeholders should increasingly address the distress in the early stages and the best use of the IBC would be not using it all.
Stakeholders who understand business and have the backing of sophisticated professionals are using IBC with open eyes after evaluating all options. There is no reason to doubt their commercial wisdom. The 25,000 applications filed so far under IBC indicate the value and trust that stakeholders place on the law — the ultimate test of its efficacy.