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Geodesic being wound up following failure to pay loans, $157M FCCBs; Fraud alleged

geodesicThe digital messaging and content solutions company Geodesic is being wound up by regulators as per a Bombay High Court order, for defaulting on loans and failing to pay its foreign currency convertible bonds (FCCBs) holders, as indicated by this Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) notice dated August 8, 2014. The notice says that the Deputy Registrar of Companies at Maharashtra informed BSE on August 1 that an official liquidator had been appointed by the Bombay HC to oversee the winding up process.

On April 7, 2014 the Bombay HC has passed an order (pdf) on a winding-up plea filed against Geodesic by Citibank NA, which is the trustee of the bondholders. The Mumbai-based company had defaulted in paying $157 million to its foreign currency convertible bonds (FCCBs) holders, in early 2013, and the court had given it time till April 28 to deposit $162 million with Citibank. The court had made it clear that any failure on Geodesic’s part would force it to appoint a provisional liquidator to initiate recovery.

The provisional liquidator had taken physical possession of the company’s assets and properties on May 13, 2014, Geodesic had informed BSE. On July 8, 2014 the Bombay HC further extended the payment deadline to July 18.

Misleading the court?

Apparently, Geodesic had told the court the interests of the bondholders were secure as the company held $29 million, $92 million and $82 million, respectively, in the bank accounts of its three overseas subsidiaries – Emiloto Associated Inc, Zomo Technologies Ltd and Geodesic Technology Solutions Ltd, as indicated by this Livemint report. However, in Geodesic’s 2012-13 Annual Report (pdf), auditors Borkar and Muzumdar stated: “…we were unable to verify the correctness of Geodesic’s bank balances including deposits at their foreign subsidiaries…nor were we able to verify whether these are free of any encumbrances…”

More trouble brewing: Besides Citibank, 10 other banks and individual companies have filed similar winding-up petitions against Geodesic, including Barclays Plc, HDFC Bank, Standard Chartered Bank and Simmtronics Semiconductors Ltd, according to the Livemint report.

Fraud alleged

According to a Times of India report, a First Information Report (FIR) alleging fraud was also filed in July in Nasik, against the board of directors of the company, alleging that Geodesic cheated investors “to the tune of Rs 720 crore”, and prepared false documents to mislead the complainant.

Geodesic had stopped publishing financial results post Q2-FY13

The company’s (reported) revenue grew from Rs 9.7 crore in 2003 to Rs 1162 crore in 2012, at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 61%. However, in Q1-FY13 and Q2-FY13 Geodesic’s net profits declined by 40.74% and 82.37%, respectively, over the corresponding quarters in the previous year. Post this Geodesic stopped releasing its financial results.

Geodesic’s mobile-internet TV service, Mundu TV was its most popular brand. Back in September 2011, Geodesic had claimed that Mundu TV’s average revenue per user (ARPU) was Rs 70. The Mundu TV website is currently defunct. The company’s primary revenue earner was enterprise CRM (42% in 2011), followed by telcos, handsets and retail sales (23%), electronic computing segment, especially its Geo Amida product (15%) and others. The VoIP service Spokn and Mundu Radio were some of the other products in the Geodesic stable. It also owns the childrens magazine brand Chandamama.

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