A fire gutted the container freight station (CFS) run by Sical Logistics Ltd at Thoothukudi on April 9, adding to the woes of the Mumbai-listed logistics unit of the Coffee Day Group founded by the late businessman VG Siddhartha.
The loss from the fire at the CFS, the second biggest servicing the nearby state-owned VO Chidambaranar Port Trust (VOC Port Trust) in Thoothukudi, is estimated at about ₹100 crore, according to port industry sources.
VOC Port Trust is a hub for exporters in Coimbatore and Tirupur. In March, the port handled 80,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs), of which about 60,000 TEUs were routed through the CFS operating in the vicinity of the port. “The fire has taken out 45,000 sq ft of CFS capacity from the market at Thoothukudi. This would force exporters to divert their containers via Cochin and Chennai ports,” a port industry source said.
In March, a bankruptcy court in Chennai ordered start of corporate insolvency resolution process (CIRP) under the bankruptcy law against Sical Logistics.
The Chennai division bench of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) ordered CIRP on a petition brought by an operational creditor MOL TOYOFUJI Automotive Logistics (India) Pvt Ltd (previously known as Ennore Automotive Logistics Pvt Ltd), seeking to recover unpaid dues of ₹42,56,675 (with interest ₹62,59,818).
The unpaid dues related to services rendered by MOL TOYOFUJI Automotive Logistics on yard handling and stevedoring operations at Ennore, Kandla, Cochin and New Mangalore ports and other related services for coastal shipping of cars within India.
Sical owes ₹1,105.64 crores to a clutch of banks and financial institutions of which ₹1,094.26 crore has been admitted by the interim resolution professional. Of this, Sical owes ₹432.21 crore to Bank of Baroda, ₹165.42 crores to Yes Bank and ₹121 crores to IDFC First Bank, among others.
Operational creditors have claimed ₹125.34 crores of which ₹109.75 crores have been admitted.
The Coffee Day Group acquired Sical in September 2011 through its subsidiary Tanglin Retail Realty Developments Pvt Ltd which holds 50.19 per cent in the company.
Sical Logistics runs port terminal, container freight stations and container trains.
Sical holds 74 per cent stake in Sical Iron Ore Terminals Ltd, the entity that was awarded the rights by state-run Kamarajar Port Ltd in 2006 to build and operate a 12 million tonne (mt) capacity iron ore terminal at the port near Chennai for 30 years.
The terminal, though, failed to take off due to the ban on export of iron ore from Karnataka and hence was allowed in 2016 to be converted into a coal handling facility. It is yet to start operations.
PSA-Sical Terminals Ltd, the entity that runs India’s oldest public -private-partnership (PPP) container terminal at V O C Port Trust, is 49 per cent owned by Sical while Singapore’s PSA International holds the majority 51 per cent stake.
Sical Multimodal and Rail Transport Limited (SMART), the rail logistics wing of Sical, holds a Category I license from the Indian Railways to ply container trains throughout the Indian Railways network in both export-import and domestic segments.
SMART owns seven rakes of 45 wagons each and some 1,000 containers. It runs three container freight stations at Chennai, Thoothukudi and Visakhapatnam.
After the death of Siddhartha, the Coffee Day Group had mandated ICICI Securities to sell Sical Logistics as part of a plan to cut the Group’s debt. The exercise didn’t progress further.