ArcelorMittal moves NCLT, challenges lenders' decision to reject its bid for Essar Steel

Mumbai: ArcelorMittal has challenged the committee of creditors' last week decision to reject its bid for Essar Steel on technical grounds at the Ahmedabad bench of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT), the company said in a statement on Monday.

The bankers had met on 23 March in Mumbai and had rejected ArcelorMittal's bid along with that of Numetal - the only two bidders for the crippled 10-million tonne Essar Steel assets at Hazira in Gujarat - citing technical issues.

These two bids were from the beginning questioned by the insolvency resolution professional (IRP) and others as the promoters of both these firms were defaulters in other firms - the Ruias in Essar Steel and the Mittals in Uttam Galva.

"We have already informed the stock exchanges that ArcelorMittal was declassified as a promoter of Uttam Galva. We have therefore today proposed a legal challenge to the decision of the resolution professional in the court in Ahmedabad.

Representational image. AP

Representational image. AP

"This legal challenge is also critical to ensure that we protect our rights in the process given the legal challenge by Numetal against the decision of the committee of creditors," ArcelorMittal said in a statement.

It can be noted that ArcelorMittal had a joint venture with Uttan Galwa, while Numetal is 25 percent owned by Essar Steel's original promoter Ravi Ruia's son Rewant Ruia through a Mauritius based investment vehicle called Aurora Trusts.

Rejecting both the bids, the SBI-led consortium said under the provisions of Section 29A of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), both the bids by the Mittal's and Numetal were ineligible.

The Section 29A debars promoters with direct or indirect links to the defaulted promoter of a bankrupt asset from bidding for the same through the insolvency process.

In the statement, ArcelorMittal said it continues to believe that it's 12 February bid was strong and competitive and that it was fully eligible and therefore should have been placed before the committee of creditors by the IRP.

"However, we received formal notification on 23 March that our bid was ineligible due to the technicality of still being a promoter of Uttam Galva on the stock exchange, even though we had sold our shareholding before submitting our offer," it said.

The 30-bankers consortium has allowed rebid till 2 April, while the petition of Numetal, which has already challenged the rejection at the NCLT, will be taken up on 27 March.

Under the insolvency resolution process, the case should be settled within a maximum 270 days, which ends on 29 April in the case of Essar Steel.

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Updated Date: Mar 26, 2018 18:16:59 IST

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