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| Source: Moneycontrol.com

Jaypee Infra bidders may have second thoughts as about 3,000 home buyers seek refund

Realty experts say that assuming even if 12,000 have registered their claims with the portal out of which 9,000 want a finished house and 3000 want refund, there are still thousands of units left that are part of the unsold inventory.

Dhirendra Tripathi @dtrips
Vandana Ramnani @vandanaramnani1

It was all a well-meaning exercise but may now throw up new problems for the parties in the Jaypee Infratech insolvency case. Jan 7 was the last day for the home buyers of the various Jaypee housing projects to give their choice – whether they wanted a refund or a finished house – and the company got around 12,000 responses. An online portal was created for the home buyers to give their option. Out of a total of 32000 buyers just over one-third have exercised their option.

Even as the amicus curiae Pavanshree Agrawal, as appointed by the Supreme Court for redressal of grievances of Jaypee’s home buyers, collates data, sources said that of about 11,800 buyers who have responded, close to a one-third of them i.e. about 2700 buyers have asked for a refund.

The rest of them, about 9100, have asked for possession of the flat while exercising their option on the portal.

“This may translate into a liability of another Rs 2,000 crore. Companies which have expressed interest in completing the company’s assets may now be forced to think twice as they will now have to refund the buyers and at the same time complete the unfinished projects,” a source familiar with the development told Moneycontrol.

An insolvency resolution professional, Anuj Jain, as appointed by the National Company Law Tribunal, is currently looking into ways to resolve the company’s debt problems while ensuring home buyers’ interests are also taken care of. Jaypee Infratech has a debt of around Rs 9,000 crore and no cash flows.

Abhishek Dubey who is a lawyer based out of Delhi and also a Jaypee Flat buyers remains unperturbed.

“If majority of homebuyers opt for a house and not a refund, it is very good for the incumbent investor as their capital expenditure or outgo for completing the houses will be much lesser as the structure for 75 percent of flats is already ready," he says.

Other realty experts say that assuming even if 12,000 have registered their claims with the portal out of which 9,000 want a finished house and 3000 want refund, there are still thousands of units left that are part of the unsold inventory. The incumbent developer can generate funds by selling this unsold inventory and by selling 150 million sq ft of unsold FAR or floor area ratio held in Wishtown.

Jaypee is a classic case of several factors converging to the detriment of the company. The company, along with its parent Jaiprakash Associates, launched well over 10 projects around the same time in the second half of last decade. This totaled over 30,000 home buyers. In the process, the group piled up a debt of over Rs 40,000 crore with its various power and cement projects facing trouble for some reason or the other – many of those power and cement capacities have since been sold. The group managed to bring Formula 1 on its expressway track but the latter backed out a couple of years later due to high taxation by the government.

Thus, soon, what many expected to be a dream location with a 167-km-long expressway running alongside, turned a no-go. Restrictions on construction due to a nearby bird sanctuary further accentuated the problem as home buyers turned away from various projects launched by Jaypee and other builders in the area. The final nail in the coffin came from the central bank’s new norms last year on the classification of loans that forced banks to put the loans to Jaypee under non-performing assets last year.

Banks were then forced to approach the National Company Law Tribunal to recover their loans. Subsequently, the NCLT appointed Anuj Jain to oversee the day-to-day running of the company and work out a debt resolution plan.

On Tuesday, Jaypee Associates' share price fell by over 5 percent.
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