63 moons, others win AT1 bonds case against Yes Bank in Bombay HC

In significant relief to 63 moons and others, the Bombay High Court on Friday set aside the order of Yes Bank Administrator which had written down AT1 bonds of more than Rs 8,300 crore overnight, leaving investors high and dry.

This will benefit all bondholders, including 63 moons technologies, which held bonds worth Rs 300 crore, the Mumbai-based fin-tech company said.

The Bombay High Court set aside an order from the administrator of Yes Bank and a letter by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to write off additional tier 1 (AT1) bonds sold by Yes Bank to ineligible investors. The order was passed in a batch of petitions filed by bond-holders, including financial institutions as well as individual retail investors.

Notably, institutional investors such as mutual funds, including Reliance Nippon, and individuals had put as much as Rs 8,415 crore in Yes Bank’s AT-1 bonds, which are perpetual bonds without any maturity date.

63 moons technologies, which has an exposure of Rs 300 crore to the written-off additional tier 1 (AT1) bonds of Yes Bank, had launched a lawsuit against the private sector lender and the RBI.

63 moons had filed a petition in the High Court against the bank’s decision to write off the AT1 bonds as part of a rescue plan. The company had invested in 3,000 bond holdings of Yes Bank’s written-down AT1 bonds and has been holding these papers since March 2018.

The company filed the petition on June 1, 2020, against Yes Bank, the RBI, and the administrator appointed by the RBI. The petition claimed that the company’s Rs 300-crore investment in AT1 debenture bonds has been completely misused by the promise of good returns.

In March 2020, Yes Bank forced a government-led rescue after it collapsed under the weight of alleged financial irregularities. The RBI, which took over the bank, wrote down the so-called AT1 bonds of Yes Bank worth Rs 8,415 crore as part of a revival plan.

63 moons petition argued that a write-off of bond holders’ claim — under Basel-III norms as well as international best practices — can only take place when the equity capital has virtually lost all value and must be written off.

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