Moves are afoot to put the neighbourhood store chain, Subhiksha, back in business. ICICI Ventures, a venture fund arm of ICICI Bank, and Wipro Ltd founder Azim Premji, the two shareholders of Subhiksha owning a combined 33 per cent stake, are working with the company’s founder R Subramanian to resurrect the retailer, which in 2008 had a turnover of Rs 4,000 crore and a network of 1,600 stores.
“Our investors have been deeply engaged with us on the issues and the way forward,” said Subramanian, in an e-mail to Hindustan Times. he ruled out selling the business.
A group of banks led by ICICI Bank, which have together lent around Rs 700 crore to Subhiksha, have taken up the loans for restructuring, which could involve extension in the repayment period, a moratorium on payment of principal as well as interest, conversion of part of the loan exposure into convertible debentures and forcing the company to bring in fresh equity.
Subramanian said “…..any decision on equity infusion would be post the working out of the revival package (by the banks). Various investors have also been in touch with us (for buying a stake in Subhiksha).”
ICICI Ventures and Premji are expected to take a call on investing more money into the troubled retailer with 1,600 stores, after the lenders finalise the debt restructuring.