Flipkart has secured a credit line of over Rs 450 crore from private sector lender HDFC Bank, according to latest documents filed with the Registrar of Companies (RoC).
The agreement was inked on February 23 through Flipkart India, one of the two key entities that controls the e-tailer’s Indian operations. Flipkart has provided fixed deposits as security to the bank, the RoC documents show.
Emails sent by TOI to HDFC Bank on the new credit line remained un-answered, while Flipkart declined to comment.
The reasons for securing the credit line from HDFC Bank were not specified in the document. According to bankers, small and large companies borrow credit from banks for short-term operational needs, especially when raising fresh capital may take more time.
“It is targeted at meeting day-to-day cash demands in order to maintain seamless business operations,” a banker said. While e-commerce companies such as Flipkart and Snapdeal mopped up a majority of tech funding in India in the last two years, investor sentiment has changed and raising new capital would take time from here on.
Keeping the risk in mind in case of a default, banks ask for a security when providing credit. Prior to this, Flipkart India and Flipkart Internet together had pledged assets worth Rs 1,400 crore to two commercial banks — Deutsche Bank and Kotak Mahindra Bank.
Flipkart is locked in a fierce three-way battle with global major Amazon’s local arm and SoftBank-backed Snapdeal. The eight-year-old e-commerce major is learnt to be on the deal street to scoop up fresh funds to the tune of around $1 billion. While Amazon has been aggressively pushing investments in India with investments of around Rs 6,700 crore so far, Gurgaon-based Snapdeal recently closed a $200-million financing round, majority of which is in the form of a secondary transaction, at a valuation of $6.5 billion.
So far, Flipkart has raised $3.4 billion from a clutch of marquee investors including Tiger Global, Naspers, GIC of Singapore, Qatar Investment Authority and Yuri Milner’s DST Global, among others.
Flipkart’s move to tap into credit comes at a time when one of its investors — Morgan Stanley — recently marked down its share in the company by 27%, reducing the online retailer’s valuation to little over $11 billion from $15.2 billion. Meanwhile, the company has undergone internally a string of management changes starting with Sachin Bansal’s move to the role of executive chairman and Flipkart co-founder Binny Bansal’s elevation to the role of CEO. A few weeks later, Mukesh Bansal, head of the e-tailer’s commerce business, decided to resign from the company.