Atlas Ramachandran
Atlas RamachandranWikimedia Commons/Blacknclick

Atlas Jewellery founder and chairman MM Ramachandran is looking to sell "a successfully running hospital in Oman" for 550 million dihrams (roughly Rs 990 crore) to repay the debt he owes to banks. The move comes after a court reportedly turned down his bail plea.

"Earlier this proposal [to sell his assets in Oman] was not acceptable to him as the Atlas Health Care Group has been a profit-making entity with a leading Omani group as its sponsors. The sponsor is now considering taking over the business from Ramachandran once proper valuation of the asset has been carried out," industry sources told Gulf News.

The steering committee of banks appointed to recover the dues worth millions from Ramachandran held a meeting on Wednesday, according to banking sources.

Addressing the media on Tuesday, Ramachandran said that he was "committed" to paying back the massive dues to banks.

It is also speculated that he may consider selling the group's jewellery stores in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait, and earlier, a Saudi investor had showed interest in buying the entire chain of retail outlets of the group.

Ramachandran was also keen to sell his assets in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries but wanted to hold the group's jewellery outlets in the UAE.

Meanwhile, Ramachandran's wife, who is the owner of many of the UAE stores, seems to be looking at providing "corporate guarantees" to repay the debt.

The group is also expected to sell a part of prime property it purchased in India, in a bid to raise funds to pay back the debt it owes to banks.

"Atlas Jewellery India had bought some prime properties in Bengaluru, Chennai and Kerala and these might be liquidated to raise the amount. A consultant hired by Atlas has been negotiating with the banks for some time to settle the issues," the sources added.

A spokesman of a major jewellery group said that the arrest of the group founder's may tarnish the "reputation" of all traders in the industry.

"The jewellery chain's famous tag line describes it as the winner of the trust of millions. In fact now this episode story is about breaking the trust of millions. This huge debt has piled up because of years of delinquency which did not come to the notice of the banks who continued to lend him such big sums," the spokesman said.

An owner of another leading jewellery brand raised doubts about the company's latest balance sheets that showed revenue of 10 billion dihrams last year and profit of over 20 million dihrams.

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