Canadian investment firm Brookfields is leading the race to acquire luxury hotel chain Leela Hotels, after JM Financial took majority control of the chain following a loan default.
Media reports said that JM Financial ARC was in advanced talks to sell the chain after the ARC increased its stake in the hotel to about 75.2 per cent in June this year. The debt-heavy company is struggling for almost a decade amid high fixed cost, pricing pressure and increasing competition from international hotel chains in India.
The company had restructured its loans under the earlier corporate debt restructuring (CDR) mechanism, with January 1, 2012, as the cut-off date.
One of the conditions of that package was debt would be brought down by Rs 20.3 billion, by selling the Delhi hotel by end-March 2014. The company said a continuing recession in the segment had blocked this.
As a result, the lenders declared on June 28, 2014, that the CDR had failed. Following which, 14 lenders with a combined exposure of 95.6 per cent of the CDR debt had assigned their dues to JMFARC; one lender with exposure of about one per cent of the debt did so to Phoenix ARC.
Consolidated debt at the end of March was Rs 36.62 billion for the hotel chain.