Lenders fail to sell Kingfisher House at auction
Other | Photo Credit: Reuters

In a blow to lenders' recovery efforts, the auction for Kingfisher House - once headquarters of Vijay Mallya's long-grounded airline - turned out to be a damp squib with no bidders coming forward due to litigation fears and a high reserve price of Rs 150 crore.

The 17-member consortium, led by State Bank of India, will now meet on March 19 to discuss the future course of action to review the reasons including the reserve price for the failure of today's auction, sources said.

Even before it started this morning, bankers and experts were skeptical of the auction as no bidder had approached SBICAP Trustee, which conducted the e-auction, till March 14 -- the last day to register and deposit the earnest money.

The reserve price for Kingfisher House, with a built up area 17,000 sq ft in Vile Parle area near domestic airport here, was set at Rs 150 crore, which has widely been termed as too high for this property.

Interestingly, the lenders had got done an independent valuation for the property and a leading real estate consultant had pegged the value at Rs 40-50 crore. The suggested valuation was, however, discarded by the lenders who went on to set the reserve price at Rs 150 crore.

Another leading property consultant also said that the reserve price quoted by the banks was too high, taking into account the area and the current market trends.

"There were no bidders. I think the higher reserve price was the reason for it. Lenders will now meet on March 19 to review the reserve price," said a source, adding that the bankers are as of now looking to lower it to Rs 100-120 crore.

There is a possibility that a fresh valuation would be done by some independent consultant.

The online auction was held by SBICAPS Trustee, a subsidiary of SBI Caps, under the Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act (Sarfaesi), 2002.

Lenders had taken over Kingfisher House in February last year in a bid to recover part of their dues totalling over Rs 9,000 crore, which includes unpaid loans and accrued interest.

The banks have stepped up their recovery efforts in recent past. Mallya, meanwhile, has left the country early this month amid an intensified glare of various regulators and investigative agencies that are probing alleged irregularities involving various companies of his group.

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