YES Bank has become the second-largest shareholder in tour operator Cox & Kings after it acquired an 18.55 % stake from the invocation of pledge. The private-sector lender has additionally picked up a 30 % stake in Cox & Kings sister concern ezeego1 following a loan default.
The 260-year-old travel firm is owned by the Kerkar family through domestic and overseas entities. The firm has been facing a liquidity crisis, leading to loan defaults and rating downgrades in the past few months. This has led to promoters pledging further stake to raise funds. Lenders have additionally invoked pledges following default. The promoter stake in the company fell ten percentage points to 39.73 % between April and June and has currently been reduced to 21.18 % following yes Bank’s action. Over 69 % of the promoter stake was pledged as of June finish.
YES Bank on Friday informed the stock market that it acquired 32 million shares in Cox & Kings, amounting to 18.55% of the paid capital. It additionally took 34,080 shares in ezeego1, taking a 30% stake in the firm. It said the pledge was invoked following a loan default by ezeego1, a B2B travel firm owned by the Cox & Kings promoters. Cox & Kings had a debt of Rs 3,238 crore at end of FY19, comprising of both short and long-term debt.
The business of ezeego1 has come back to a halt since late last month after the International transportation Association suspended the firm from selling tickets on credit and it laid off over 100 staff.
Cox & Kings did not comment on the development. On Wed, the tour operator had said that it was working closely with its lenders to optimize strong asset base globally to bring things back to normal as soon as possible. This was after the company defaulted on commercial paper of Rs 174 crore. in the past month, the company has defaulted on debt repayment of over Rs 200 crore leading to the withdrawal of credit from its suppliers too. The lenders, too, have turned cautious in renewing capital facilities and increasing their exposure to the financially stressed company.
“We are trying to figure out a solution for the tour operator,” said a senior executive of a lender. He added the promoters, too, could be asked to infuse funds as part of the arrangement.
Also Read, 401 Unique Slogans for Travel Companies