Ricoh India revival plan contested by Kotak Investment Advisors

Postscript – Ricoh India resolution-revival

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Ricoh India Ricoh Pro c7100x in Mumbai (2016)
Ricoh India's install base includes digital production presses. Shown here is Nor Enterprise’s Nitin Nor with his newly installed Ricoh Pro c7100x in Mumbai in 2016. Photo IPP July 2016

News comes to us that the resolution of the Ricoh India insolvency and revival plan could take a bit longer. The resolution plan of the Dharamshi-Jhunjhunwala consortium approved by the NCLT in Mumbai is being contested by Kotak Mahindra’s private equity investment arm, Kotak Investment Advisors.

On 11 December 2019, Kotak Investment Advisors challenged the NCLT ruling in the Bombay High Court, arguing that the entire resolution and revival plan was flawed. KIA’s plea to the NCLT was rejected as was its appeal to the Mumbai High Court, which ruled that “the petitioners have an ‘alternative’ and equally efficacious remedy’ of appeal to the NCLAT.” There are indications that KIA may move the Supreme Court challenging the approved bid of the Dharamshi-Jhunjhunwala led consortium.

The battle to be the Indian lead partner in Ricoh India’s revival is because it is seen as a technology company with substantial revenue potential. While it suffered governance issues and losses of Rs. 1,123 crore in Financial Year 2014-15, the company won a project to digitize 130,000 post offices across India in late 2014 that is said to be still under implementation. 

The company has a significant installed base of equipment, including digital production presses in the country on which it continues to earn maintenance and consumable annuity income. In FY17-18, it reported a revenue of Rs. 680 crore and a net loss of Rs. 894 crore. While Ricoh India has considerable debt, it is reportedly, mostly, to its parent company in Japan.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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– Naresh Khanna

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