IL&FS blow: Number of bankrupt real estate developers doubles

Mumbai: In a schocking state of affairs that follow the IL&FS crisis, Bloomberg has learnt that the number of Indian real estate companies that have taken insolvency route has doubled in less than a year.

Since the collapse of the key non-banking financial company (NBFC), as many as 421 real estate developers entered bankruptcy court by the end of June, up from 209 in September 2018.

The event, media firm reports, is often compared to the Lehman crisis that squeezed American funding markets a decade ago.

Around September 2018, the Government seized control of Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services(IL&FS). The move triggered a credit crunch for smaller financiers and property firms, which depend on funds from shadow lenders.

The numbers will probably increase, according to Vivek K Chandy, joint managing partner at law firm J Sagar Associates. Of the 421 cases, 164 have been closed, he said, which means they were resolved, withdrawn, or the companies faced liquidation.

The growing number of insolvencies highlight Indian property developers’ inability to complete apartments and meet their debt obligations amid the funding crisis.

The crunch is feeding into ― and worsened by ― an economic slowdown that is hitting Indian’s demand for goods and services.

"Banks have become more vigilant. Markets are not too good, money is tight, compliance has increased. Home owners have now become financial creditors by legislation, so they will be able to put more pressure on real estate companies and can start insolvency proceedings," Chandy said.

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