New Delhi: Tata Steel Ltd on Monday objected to lenders of debt-laden Bhushan Power and Steel Ltd (BPSL) finalizing a bid of its rival JSW Steel Ltd. The lenders allowed JSW Steel to change the basic parameters of its bid after having previously declared Tata Steel as the highest bidder, according to a plea filed by Tata Steel at the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT).
On Monday, NCLAT heard the arguments made by the counsel appearing for Tata Steel and adjourned the hearing of the matter to 1 November.
Last week, more than two-thirds of lenders to BPSL voted in favour of a revised offer by JSW Steel, turning on the heat in a contest for an asset that is also being pursued by Tata Steel and UK’s Liberty House.
In the initial round of bidding, BPSL received bids of ₹ 11,000 crore from JSW Steel, ₹ 17,000 crore from Tata Steel and ₹ 18,500 crore from Liberty House. Sajjan Jindal-promoted JSW Steel subsequently revised its bid to ₹ 19,700 crore, which has now won the lenders’ approval.
A two-member NCLAT bench headed by Chairperson Justice S.J. Mukhopadhaya directed the counsel appearing for Tata Steel to complete arguments on the matter in the next hearing.
“Either complete the arguments or we’ll ask them (committee of creditors) to consider the revised plan (of JSW Steel)," said the NCLAT bench.
“Because it’s the committee of creditors (CoC), it cannot allow changes after changes.... Six bids have been allowed by the CoC to JSW Steel," said senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing on behalf of Tata Steel.
The NCLAT had, in an interim order on 6 August, allowed all three contenders—Tata Steel, Liberty House and JSW—to file additional unconditional “resolution plans" by 13 August 2018, improving their financial offer without compromising the basic parameters of the ‘resolution plans’ already submitted by them. But the committee of creditors allowed JSW to change basic parameters of its resolution plans.
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On 17 July, the NCLAT had stayed the meeting of CoC when they were going to vote for finalizing the highest bidder for BPSL.
BPSL, which owes more than ₹ 48,500 crore to a consortium of lenders led by Punjab National Bank, is one of the 12 large companies identified by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for early resolution. It operates a 3.5 million tonne (mt) steel plant in Odisha.