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Pixion in dire straits; 9 offices to be auctioned in Feb

MUMBAI: VFX studio Pixion seems to be in dire financial straits, as nine of its offices, including six in Mumbai, are slated to be auctioned by a consortium of banks next month.

Pixion Media Pvt Ltd and its two sister companies Century Communication Ltd and Pearl Vision Pvt Ltd reportedly owe Rs 1,959 crore (Rs 19.59 billion) to a consortium of banks led by Indian Overseas Bank (IOB).

The consortium will auction the assets in February to recover the loan amount. However, the assets pledged as security with the banks by the three companies have been valued at a small sum of Rs 187.33 crore (Rs 1.87 billion), as per a report in Mumbai Mirror.

The report adds that the company’s directors PK Tewari and Anand Tewari are also being probed by the CBI on charges of alleged forgery of documents to obtain loans for its fourth group company Mahuaa Media Pvt Ltd.

A notice issued by the consortium stated that the group’s offices in Bandra, Khar, Oshiwara in Mumbai, Chennai and Noida have been attached and will be auctioned on 9 February. Pixion now has only one office running in Bandra, Mumbai, which has about 120 employees.

The offices to be auctioned next month include Century Communication’s 7,713 sq ft office at Pali Naka Bandra, a 2,400 sq ft office in Khar, a 6,000 sq ft office at Lotus Park (which recently caught fire) in Oshiwara, as well as its offices in Noida and Chennai.

Pixion has two offices on the 7th and 21st floors in Lotus Park in Oshiwara which will also be auctioned, as per the report. Similarly, Pixion’s offices in Noida and Pearl Vision’s 2,400 sq feet workspace in Bandra will go under the hammer too.

According to the report, Century Communication failed to pay back loans taken from ten banks including IOB, Oriental Bank, State Bank of India, Canara Bank, Punjab National Bank, State Bank of Hyderabad, Bank of Baroda, Union Bank, Andhra Bank and Vijaya Bank.

In August 2012, Century Communication’s total outstanding to these banks was Rs 693.47 crore (Rs 6.93 billion). By October 2014, the amount had risen to Rs 916.22 crore (Rs 9.16 billion).

Meanwhile, Pixion Media Pvt Ltd had availed loans from IOB, Bank of Baroda, Oriental Bank, Bank of India, Vijaya Bank and State Bank of Hyderabad. The total amount due was calculated at Rs 504.52 crore (Rs 5.05 billion) in August 2012 and has since risen to Rs 695.42 crore (Rs 6.95 billion).

The third company Pearl Vision Pvt Ltd also took loans from IOB, Oriental Bank, Bank of Baroda, Punjab National Bank, Syndicate Bank and Vijaya Bank. The total amount due to the bank was calculated at Rs 248.90 crore (Rs 2.49 billion) in August 2012, which now stands at Rs 347.83 crore (Rs 3.48 billion).

‘Mumbai Mirror’ states that the consortium issued proceedings against the group under the Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act, 2002.

Pixion has been credited for working with leading production houses in Bollywood. In 2013, the studio worked on VFX for ‘Krrish 3’, ‘Grand Masti’ and ‘Bhaag Milkha Bhaag’.