Kishore Biyani has stepped down from the board of suspended Future Retail and resigned as chairman and director of the company, which is now facing bankruptcy proceedings prior to NCLT.
Kishore Biyani, who has been with Future Retail Ltd (FRL) since it was founded in 2007, said in an emotional farewell that it was facing a Corporate Insolvency Resolution Process (CIRP) “as a result of unfortunate business circumstances.”
In a resignation letter to the company’s grooming specialist, Kishore Biyani said, “The company has always been a passion of mine and I’ve been committed to growing it, but I have to accept reality and move forward.”
A copy of the letter shared with the Stock Exchange follows. The takeover of all information and data that was available with the former management or is retrievable from former employees or third parties and shared with you all insights into the business and operations and the various obstacles faced by the former management.”
FRL said in regulatory filings that Kishore Biyani had submitted a letter of resignation from the position of “Executive Chairman and Director” of the company, adding that his resignation “must be submitted to the Creditors’ Committee pursuant to the Bankruptcy and Bankruptcy Act, 2016”.
The resolution specialist at Future Retail Ltd (FRL) was notified via email on 24 January 2023.
Kishore Biyani, also known as India’s Retail King, is known among the public as a pioneer of India’s modern retail, which took the modern brick and mortar format. FRL operated a variety of retail formats in both the hypermarket supermarket and home sectors with brands such as Big Bazaar, Easyday and Foodhall. At its peak, FRL operated more than 1,500 stores in nearly 430 cities.
Kishore Biyani (61) has also committed to working with lenders.
“It goes without saying that despite my resignation, I can get all the possible help I can with my limited resources and ability to address any issues with the company,” he said.
FRL was dragged into bankruptcy proceedings by its lender, the Bank of India, due to default on loans.
The National Company Law Tribunal’s Mumbai Bench has directed a bankruptcy against FRL to be initiated in July 2022.
It was part of a group of 19 Future group companies operating in the retail, wholesale, logistics and warehousing sectors that were set to be transferred to Reliance Retail as part of an INR 2.4713 billion deal announced in August 2020.
However, lenders rejected Reliance’s acquisition of 19 Future group companies, including FRL, due to Amazon’s legal troubles.
A whopping 13 companies were shortlisted for the acquisition of FRL, including Reliance Retail, Adani Group’s JV April Moon Retail and 11 others.
In August of last year, stock market regulator Sevi ordered a forensic audit of FRL accounts for the fiscal years 2019-20, 2020-21 and 2021-22.
The Securities and Exchange Commission of India (Sebi) has also requested an audit of FRL’s insider trading (RPT) with three other Future group companies: Future Enterprises Ltd, Future Consumer Ltd and Future Supply Chain Solutions Ltd.
An RPT is a transaction or arrangement between two parties who have a pre-existing business relationship or common interest.
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