KOCHI: In a first, a bank has invoked the provisions of the Insolvency code 2016 to take over the possession of a 'seaplane'.
Seabird Seaplane Ltd, a Kochi-based seaplane company, owed over Rs 6 crore to Kerala-based Federal Bank. Babu KA, senior vice president of Federal Bank, who led the recovery procedure, said, "The provisions of the Sarfaesi Act does not envisage taking over aircraft. Hence we used the provisions of the new Insolvency code to recover the loan dues."
Seabird Seaplane, which launched its services to Lakshadweep in 2015, had fallen into bad times, defaulting on loans from the Aluva-headquartered private bank. The seaplane parked in Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL) was taken under custody by Insolvency Professional Jose KK, appointed by the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) and the proceedings at CIAL was co-ordinated by the recovery team of the bank led by Babu KA and Mohamed Sageer TA, vice president at Federal Bank's head office.
Officials said a new amphibious aircraft has a market rate of Rs 13 crore.
"This aircraft by Seabird Seaplane will be worth at least Rs 8 crore. We will appoint a valuer to calculate its worth, and will be sold to interested parties to recover our dues," said Sajan Philip Mathew, vice president, Federal Bank. He said though there have been buyers who have expressed interest in the aircraft if it sold at Rs 8-9 crore, the company was refusing to sell it and clear its dues.
This is not the first time that the Kerala-based bank is taking over properties of companies that default on the loans but the bank has been using the provisions of the Sarfaesi Act (the Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Securities Interest Act, 2002) to take over the commercial properties.
In 2017, Federal Bank, using Sarfaesi Act, had taken over two resorts in Thekkadi - Elephant Court, a 5-star resort, and Peppervine, another resort, after its promoters Vijaya Hospitality and Resorts defaulted on about Rs 36 crore in loans.