Creditors line up
On August 26, the Supreme Court of Seychelles declared Chinnakannan Sivasankaran, better known as Siva, bankrupt. An official receiver for Siva's global estate was appointed. It will be this person's job to compile a list of Siva's assets - homes, aircraft, yachts and other baubles - and sell them to pay back his creditors.
Amongst Siva's creditors, the largest is BMIC, a Bahrain Telecom, or Batelco, company. In a statement issued from Manama in Bahrain, Batelco CEO Alan Whelan said that the bankruptcy will not "thwart our determination to recover the substantial monies that he owes us".
Siva is learnt to have sounded out some Chennai lawyers to find out the implications for his assets in India.
For Siva, the India-born 58-year-old citizen of Seychelles, this was actually his second brush with bankruptcy in less than a year.
In October 2013, WinWinD, his Finland-headquartered wind turbine venture, submitted a voluntary bankruptcy petition because it had "been incurring heavy losses for the past several years" and its debts had ballooned to around $300 million.
"The efforts of WinWinD in trying to arrange for necessary funding and approval for restructuring process has not been successful and hence this decision," the company said at that time.
Disbelief about the news of the bankruptcy looms large in Siva's native Chennai. One industry representative insists that when he spoke to Siva last week, he was "cool and calm, and showed no sign of agitation". Siva could not be reached for this report. His senior executives in India too were not available for comment.
The Siva group's website still claims that it is a $3-billion conglomerate with interests in "oil palm, commodities trading [minerals], agro exports, shipping and logistics, wind energy, realty and hospitality and education/e-learning", but it is clear that it will take Siva some effort from here to restore his glory.
Text: Surajeet Das Gupta, Bhupesh Bhandari, TE Narasimhan and Gireesh Babu, Business Standard
Image courtesy: Siva Group