Kishore Biyani’s bankrupt firm Future Retail has received expressions of interest (EoIs) from 55 prospective bidders for the new round of bidding through the corporate insolvency resolution process (CIRP). Reliance Retail, April Moon Retail (a joint venture firm of Adani Airport Holdings and promoters of Flamingo Group), Jindal Power, JC Flower Asset Management Co, and UV Stressed Asset Management are part of the final list of prospective bidders. 

There are also a slew of regional retail chains who submitted their interests in evaluating the books and stocks of Future Retail for submitting the bids. 

The National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) has recently granted an extension of 90 days to complete the bankruptcy proceedings of Future Retail. Lenders of the debt-ridden retailer sought extension after receiving muted response from prospective bidders earlier.

The resolution professional invited the EoIs on March 23. The new deadline to complete the resolution process is July 15. 

Lack of access to the details on assets and liabilities were cited as the reason for disinterest among prospective bidders in submitting the bids. About a couple of weeks back, NCLT allowed the resolution professional of Future Retail to request help from law enforcement authorities to gain access to Future Retail stores that have been locked out of due to disputes with landlords. There are about 240 such stores. 

Justice Shyam Babu Gautam-led bench allowed the plea and said, “Goods lying inside the storerooms pertains to the corporate debtor, which is under corporate insolvency resolution process, therefore in all interest, the resolution professional would require to protect the assets and to take over the custody of those assets hence to secure those assets... We also grant permission to the police to break open such locks on the sealed stores."

The resolution professional also filed a separate application seeking access to certain documents from Future Retail’s former auditors. Before that, the resolution professional filed an application under Section 19 (2) of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) against the Future Group promoters and statutory auditors for alleged non-cooperation. 

According to the resolution documents, Future Retail has 302 leased retail stores, consisting of 30 large format stores such as Big Bazaar and FBB stores and 272 small format stores. It owes over ₹17,000 crore to its financial and operational creditors, while claims of ₹21,000 crore have been submitted. 

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