Atlas meets banks, vows to sell assets

Issac John/Associate Business Editor/Dubai
Filed on September 3, 2015 | Last updated on September 3, 2015 at 07.34 am

By Sunday Atlas Group would present to the lenders panel a comprehensive financial report on all its assets in the region.

Debt-ridden Atlas Jewellery on Wednesday assured its lenders that it would soon come out with a repayment plan that involves the disposal of all its assets in the GCC to settle liabilities estimated at over Dh500 million.

Indira Ramachandran, wife of the beleaguered owner of the jewellery chain, led the Atlas team and discussed with representatives of 20 creditor banks various options to pay back their dues.

The closed-door meeting was held at the United National Bank premises in Dubai.

Banking sources revealed that by Sunday Atlas Group would present to the steering committee set up by the lenders a comprehensive financial report on all its assets in the region.

Atlas has around 35 jewellery outlets in the GCC, including 19 in the UAE, five each in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, two each in Qatar, Bahrain and Oman. The group also owns two specialty hospitals in Oman.

"The disposal of these assets will hopefully generate enough funds to cover the outstanding liabilities of the group," a banker who was present at the meeting revealed on condition of anonymity.

One of the lenders had already initiated negotiations for the sale of the 60-bed and 80-bed hospitals. It is understood, three leading Gulf-based healthcare groups are vying to clinch the deal.

Speaking to Khaleej Times on behalf of M. M. Ramachandran, who is still in detention as his bail plea was rejected on Tuesday, Shyam Mohan, communications head of Atlas Jewellery, said the group remained fully committed to repay all debts. "We are in the process of chalking out a repayment plan that involves the sale of our assets."

He said the group's financial woes are a temporary setback as its financial fundamentals are strong enough to tide over the crisis. "We have built our goodwill over the years, and we are determined to leave no stones unturned to come out clean of the current crisis. Our relationships with most of our lenders are time-tested and enduring. We look forward to maintaining it that way," said Mohan.

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