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Debt continues to weigh down India’s top conglomerates

Debt at these 10 groups has risen seven times over the past eight years, Credit Suisse said in a new report on Wednesday


The top 10 are Lanco Group, Jaypee Group, GMR Group, Videocon Group, GVK Group, Essar Group, Adani Group, Reliance Group, JSW Group and Vedanta Group. Photo: Bloomberg

The top 10 are Lanco Group, Jaypee Group, GMR Group, Videocon Group, GVK Group, Essar Group, Adani Group, Reliance Group, JSW Group and Vedanta Group. Photo: Bloomberg

Mumbai: Financial stress at the top 10 Indian conglomerates has intensified even as some of them cut back on capital expenditure and attempted to sell assets to pare debt, according to a new report on Wednesday by Credit Suisse Group AG.

Titled House of Debt, the report is an update of its first report on this topic in 2012 that listed the 10 most indebted corporate houses in India.

The top 10 are Lanco Group, Jaypee Group, GMR Group, Videocon Group, GVK Group, Essar Group, Adani Group, Reliance Group, JSW Group and Vedanta Group.

The debt at these groups has risen seven times over the past eight years, Credit Suisse said. Their loans add up to 12% of the loans in the banking system in India and 27% of corporate loans.

Their interest cover dropped to 0.8 in 2014-15 from 0.9 in 20113-14 and debt-to-Ebitda (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) multiple rose to 7 from 6.8.

The interest coverage ratio is a yardstick of how easily firms can service their debt while the debt-to-Ebitda ratio refers to how many years it would take for a company to pay back its debt if net debt and Ebitda are held constant.

A high debt-to-Ebitda multiple suggests that a company may not be able to service debt and when a firm’s interest coverage ratio is 1.5 or lower, it may be unable to meet interest expenses.

An economic downturn in recent years, coupled with delays in securing government approvals, completing land acquisition and procuring fuel supplies have stalled many infrastructure projects such as roads and power plants, hurting corporate cash flows and impairing their ability to repay debt.

For four of the 10 groups, Jaypee, Lanco, Essar, and GMR, Credit Suisse said 40-65% of group debt has already been downgraded to default (D rating) by credit assessors.

Earlier this year Mint chronicled the troubles at some of these companies that had default events.

http://www.livemint.com/Companies/ny8WpQMe9LES9vpdFciVKI/Debt-continues-to-weigh-down-Indias-top-conglomerates.html

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