DHL drags Future Supply Chain Solutions to NCLT over dues of Rs 7.26 crore

Industry:    4 months ago

German logistics giant DHL has dragged Future Supply Chain Solutions to National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) claiming it is owed Rs 7.26 crore for services it had rendered to the company, which it claims the latter has not paid for, and has requested that insolvency proceedings are commenced against the Kishore Biyani-group company, according to sources aware of the matter.

The NCLT is hearing a petition filed by DHL’s advocate Kunal Bhanage under Section 9 of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), which provides operational creditors of a company the right to initiate insolvency proceedings for outstanding commercial claims, according to the sources cited.

DHL E-Commerce (India) Private Limited’sadvocates in their submissions to the NCLT have claimed that the unpaid dues are towards logistics services offered by their clients to Future Supply Chain Solutions for movement of goods from the latter’s various warehouses and storage facilities to other pan-India locations.

The NCLT has fixed the next hearing in the matter for March 9.

A Future Supply Chain Solutions spokesperson said the company was “regularly taking transportation services from M/s DHL but due to onset of the pandemic during the first wave, we could not pay on time and hence they stopped the services in March 2020. We had several rounds of discussions with their top management and based on the understanding with them, we started making regular payments to them from October 2021 onwards”.

DHL had not responded to ET’s queries until press time.

Future Supply Chain operates more than 8 million sq ft of warehousing space and provides logistics services like warehousing and transportation to not just Future Group companies but also to companies outside of Future Group. However, of its revenues of about Rs 500 crore in the financial year ended March 2021, Future Retail Limited accounted for around Rs 194 crore, according to disclosures made by the company in its annual report.

In 2019, the BSE-listed company sold 22% stake to Nippon Express for about Rs 640 crore. The promoters, who held nearly 50% stake in the company post the investment by Nippon Express, have seen their shareholding fall substantially after IDBI Trusteeship invoked shares of the company on behalf of debenture holder Aion Capital on September 10, 2020.

The promoters now own a 23% stake. AionCapital, an arm of Apollo Global Management, had loaned Rs 1,000 crore to the Biyani family and taken shares of Future Supply Chain as collateral. The invocation of the share pledge resulted in IDBI Trusteeship taking over 24% stake in the company.

Future Group is currently locked in a bitter legal dispute with Amazon over the former’s plans to sell its assets to Reliance Retail for Rs 25,000 crore.

Future Group is currently overburdened with a Rs 20,000 crore debt and the flagship Future Retail Ltd is immediately scheduled to pay Rs 3,500 crore in repayment instalment and the retailer has gone to the Supreme Court in a bid to stave off a non-performing assets (NPAs) tag from 27 lenders.

Amazon objected to the Future-Reliance deal and accused Future Group of breaching investment agreements signed in 2019 when the US company took a stake in Future Coupons Pvt Ltd (FCPL). Both Amazon and Future Group are locked in more than two dozen cases in various courts as part of the dispute.