Essel Group's lenders extend debt repayment timeline

Mumbai: Cash-strapped Essel Group on Wednesday said that its lenders have agreed to extend the timeline for loan repayment by the company.

In a statement here, the Essel Group said that its lenders have extended "complete support" to the group and its promoters.

“Essel Group today (Wednesday) announced and confirmed that its lenders have unanimously agreed to extend the timeline, enabling the group to optimize the value output from the sale of the assets," it said.

The group further said that the mentioned extension of the timeline was requested purely in the interest of deriving the right value of the precious assets of the group.

"The lenders have extended complete support to the group and its promoters, recognizing the intrinsic value of the assets and the overall asset divestment process undertaken. The group remains confident on further divestment, including its non-media assets," it added.

On September 20, the group had said it was in a steady and progressive dialogue with all lenders. It had also sought an extension of its September 30 deadline for repayment of debt of around Rs 7,500 crore owed to few mutual funds and non-banking institutions.

Essel Group's announcement comes in the backdrop of few of the lenders having sold 72.5 lakh shares of Zee Entertainment Enterprises (ZEE) that were pledged by its promoters.

The promoters held over 35 per cent stake in the company as of June 30, of which around 2.1 crore shares were pledged.

Of late, the company has been in talks with several companies to sell its stake in Zee Entertainment Enterprises but without any concrete development. This very extension would give it time for its divestment plans. Shares of Zee Entertainment closed 2.65 per cent lower on Wednesday on the BSE at Rs 271.90 per share.

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