The board constituted by the Indian government to salvage the sinking Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services (IL&FS) group, headed by well-known banker Uday Kotak, has its work cut out for it.
The board is expected to meet in two or three days and submit an assessment report within the next two weeks. Once that is ready, a resolution plan will be prepared, Moneycontrol.com reports.
Apart from Kotak, who is the vice-chairman and managing director of Kotak Mahindra Bank, the other board members are Vineet Nayyar, a retired civil servant; G N Bajpai, former Securities and Exchange Board of India and Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) chairman; G C Chaturvedi, ICICI non-executive chairman; Malini Shankar, director general of shipping; and Nand Kishore, former deputy comptroller and auditor general.
The Indian government took this extraordinary step after IL&FS, a major infrastructure financing and construction company, defaulted on some of its debt obligations in recent weeks, triggering concerns that it might lead to the collapse of the country’s financial system and markets.
IL&FS is sitting on total liabilities of 910 billion rupees (US$12.48 billion). The crisis at IL&FS spilled over to bond and stock markets, with yields rising and stock prices tumbling.
Incorporated in 1987, IL&FS has played a major role in infrastructure development and financing in the country. It has 169 group companies, which includes subsidiaries, joint-venture companies and associate entities. For the new board, untangling these subsidiaries could be a major challenge.
The government’s move is reminiscent of the decision it made nine years ago to supersede the board of leading software firm Satyam Computers after a major accounting scam came to light in 2009.