India's Yes Bank has 'strong' grounds to appeal ATI bonds court order, CEO says

A watchman steps out of a Yes Bank branch in Mumbai

MUMBAI (Reuters) - India's Yes Bank has "strong" legal grounds to appeal against a court order quashing the write-off of its additional Tier-1 (AT1) bonds, Chief Executive Officer Prashant Kumar said on Saturday.

"The judgment in itself is not questioning the regulatory guidelines in terms of writing off (AT1 bonds). I think there are questions in terms of the process," Kumar told reporters after publication of the lender's quarterly results.

"We have strong legal advises and opinions which interpret the issue in a different way and that makes a strong ground for us to appeal in the Supreme Court."

The Bombay High Court invalidated the write-off of additional AT1 bonds issued by the private lender on Friday. The bonds were written off as part of a restructuring plan to rescue Yes Bank in March 2020.

The court did not go into the merits of the bonds and ruled that there were procedural lapses in the decision to write them down.

Yes Bank said in a stock exchange filing late on Friday it is in the process of preparing an appeal to the Supreme Court.

Kumar said on Saturday the bank had requested six weeks from the tribunal to appeal in the higher court. It means there will not be any immediate impact of the order on the banks' books, he said.

Since the bank already has strong legal opinions in its favour, there is no need to make any contingent provisions for the written off bonds, Kumar added.

Additionally, Yes Bank will have the discretion on the interest payment of the AT1 bonds, he said, adding that any comment in this regard will be made following the Supreme Court's decision.

The write off will also not impact Carlyle Group and Advent's equity infusion in the bank, he added.

In December, private equity majors Carlyle Group and Advent each purchased a 10% stake in the bank.

(Reporting by Siddhi Nayak and Nupur Anand; Editing by Mike Harrison)