14 banks struggle to recover Rs 3,635 cr from Mumbai firm

Last Updated: Fri, Sep 20, 2019 18:07 hrs
Frost International (Image Courtesy: Frost International)

Mumbai: A consortium of 14 public sector banks, led by the Bank of India on Friday initiated the process to recover staggering loans totally worth Rs 3,635.25 crore from a Mumbai-based defaulter, Frost International Ltd.

Banking circles describe this as a revelation of one of the biggest defaulters in recent months, comparable to the league of big-time debtors like absconding diamantaires Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi and the Sterling Biotech Group.

Besides BoI, the other banks of the consortium are: the Bank of Baroda, the Canara Bank, the Central Bank of India, the Andhra Bank, the Oriental Bank of Commerce, the Punjab National Bank, the Syndicate Bank, the Union Bank of India, the Indian Overseas Bank, the UCO Bank, Vijaya Bank, Allahabad Bank, and the United Bank of India.

Of these, only two banks - BoI and BoB - have outstanding of a whopping Rs 606.17 crore and Rs 526.05 crore, respectively, from Frost International Ltd, an unlisted company.

The lowest outstanding is shown for Andhra Bank, at Rs 47.85 crore, while the other banks are in the range of Rs 100 crore-Rs 390 crore.

A government-recognised trading house, the 25-year old company deals in metals, minerals, petro products, textiles, fabrics, agro-commodities, equipments and other items and has a global presence in 25 countries.

For starters, the banks' consortium has slapped notices on the company and threatened to seize its immovable assets/properties in some prime localities of suburban Mumbai.

These include four offices with car parking slots inthe Meadows commercial complex in Andheri east, shops No. 1 to 4 in Oberoi Chambers-1, owned by Globiz Exim Pvt. Ltd. shops No. 101 to 108 in the same premises belonging to NSD Nirman Pvt. Ltd., and two offices in Crystal Plaza, Andheri west, owned by Sunil Verma.

The banks' consortium has served a 60 day ultimatum to the defaulter to clear all their pending dues plus interest as applicable to each bank.

Frost International Ltd's registered office is in Bandra Kurla Complex, Mumbai, its head office and international marketing division is in Hospitality District, New Delhi and the corporate office is in Kanpur.

Despite repeated attempts by IANS to contact all its offices, none of the top management, including its directors, were available for comments on the matter.

The bank consortium's latest action assumes significance in the wake of the proposed merger of various nationalized banks in which two banks - BoI and BoB - will continue as independent entities.

However, almost all the remaining banks shall be merged in one or the other groups, as announced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman last month, as part of the reforms in public sector banking.

(Quaid Najmi can be contacted at q.najmi@ians.in)