(1.) PURE Drinks (New Delhi Ltd.) filed this application under Section 58A of the Companies Act, 1956, read with regulations 43 and 44 of the Company Law Board Regulations, 1991, for reschedulement of repayment of fixed deposits envisaged by order dated October 21, 1991, passed by this Bench. The background of this application is that by an order dated October 21, 1991, the company was directed to repay overdue deposits along with accrued interest of 9,941 depositors with the principal amount outstanding to the extent of about Rs. 7.9 crores as per payment schedule as follows :
(2.) By the present application the company has prayed for :
(a) Modification of the repayment schedule in respect of payment due and payable for the period October, 1994, to December, 1995.
(b) Reduction in the rate of interest from 16 per cent. to 14 per cent. per annum.
(c) Return/stop payment of existing post dated cheques already issued to the depositors and their substitution by post dated cheques in accordance with the revised scheme.
It was submitted in support of the above prayers that after the passing of the earlier order the soft drinks market in India has undergone a complete transformation. After October, 1990, the multi-national soft-drink giants PepsiCo and Coca Cola have entered the Indian market in a big way. The machinations of the two multi-national giants, their high blitz publicity in all segments of the media, large infusion of funds in technical know-how and sales oriented and price reduction schemes have hit the company very hard. Further, the company was forced to reduce its selling price due to the severe competition. Simultaneously, the cost of manufacture has also increased manifold particularly the essential ingredient, namely, sugar. The cost of labour has also gone up substantially. As a consequence of all the above, the company had to curtail its operations and its market share has also fallen drastically. It is submitted that though the company had been able to stick to the repayment schedule so far it would not be in a position to comply with the schedule hereafter. The company, therefore, made a revised scheme of repayment of the balance outstanding amounts. The revised scheme envisages :
(i) Moratorium of six months for the 35 per cent. of the principal amount i.e., from October, 1994, to March, 1995.
(ii) Remaining 35 per cent. of the principal amount to be paid from April, 1995 to March, 1996, and interest due on March 31, 1995, to be paid before July, 1995.
(iii) the 40 per cent. of the principal amount payable from April to December, 1995, to be paid from April, 1996, to March, 1997, and interest due on March 31, 1996, to be paid by July, 1996.
(iv) Remaining 40 per cent. of the principal amount to be paid by May, 1997, and interest up to March 31, 1997, and up to the date of payment to be paid by May, 1997.
(3.) THE company was directed to publish a notice in this regard in one English and one Hindi daily circulating in Delhi as well as in one English and one Hindi daily circulating in the district where the registered office is situated. In addition the company was also directed to despatch under certificate of posting a copy of the advertisement published to all the depositors and to file an affidavit of despatch. Replies were received against the above public notice from 131 individuals. In addition, the Pure Drinks Creditors/Depositor Welfare Society (Regd.) has also filed a reply on January 16, 1995. Subsequently, the association's authorised representative filed another affidavit on January 27, 1995, stating no objection to enlargement of the time schedule for repayment as prayed for by the company subject to certain modifications in the schedule. At the hearing held on January 27, 1995, the company's authorised representative consented to the modifications proposed by the welfare society.;