Supreme Court directs Binani Cement lenders to proceed with debt resolution process
Supreme Court was hearing an appeal by Dalmia Bharat’s Rajputana Properties against an NCLAT order allowing lenders to consider UltraTech Cement’s revised offer for Binani Cement
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday directed the Committee of Creditors (CoC) of Binani Cement Ltd to proceed with its debt resolution process but said the same would be subject to the final outcome of the case.
“All we want is that no final order should be passed till 2nd July, the next date of hearing in the case in the apex court”, said former solicitor general Gopal Subramanium, on behalf of Dalmia Cement.
Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, representing UltraTech Cement Ltd (one of the bidders) argued, “We have offered Rs1,000 crore more than Dalmia Cement. It has 90% haircut from SBI lenders and income tax department”.
The two-judge vacation bench was hearing an appeal brought by Dalmia Bharat Ltd-controlled Rajputana Properties Pvt. Ltd (RPPL) against a 15 May order of the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) allowing the CoC to consider a revised offer for Binani Cement put forth by UltraTech Cement.
The order had also prohibited the resolution professional for Binani Cement from seeking an opinion from the resolution applicants and other parties on the questions of eligibility.
Simultaneously, it has challenged a 22 May order of the NCLAT that refused to stay the corporate insolvency resolution process for Binani Cement. RPPL has sought stay of both the NCLAT orders on an urgent basis.
Dalmia Bharat has offered to pay Rs6,932.46 crore for Binani Cement whereas UltraTech has raised its bid to Rs7,960 crore and claimed that, in the interest of all stakeholders, its bid should be considered by the lenders.
Seeking urgent listing of the matter and for it to be heard on a day-to-day basis, Rajputana Properties sought stay of the impugned orders directing the resolution professional and CoC to consider the resolution plans as per the guidelines prescribed under the 15 May order.
The appeal holds that through the impugned orders of 15 May and 22 May, NCLAT has erroneously laid down a procedure unknown to the statutory framework devised for the purpose of evaluation of a resolution plan by eliminating scrutiny regarding its legality and eligibility of a resolution applicant under Section 30(3) and 29A of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (IBC).
The effect of the 15 May order is that while the legality and correctness of the rejection of a resolution plan submitted by the applicant is pending adjudication before the adjudicating authority, the CoC has been allowed to consider the revised offer of an unsuccessful resolution applicant (UltraTech), it was stated.
On 15 May, an NCLAT bench headed by Justice S.J. Mukhopadhyay had asked the resolution professional to submit the revised resolution plans for the corporate debtor in a sealed cover before the CoC along with his opinion on questions pertaining to conformity with the IBC. The appellate tribunal further asked the CoC to record reasons for accepting or refusing a resolution plan, as well as the opinion of the board of directors.
The matter will be heard next on 2 July.