ArcelorMittal aims to swiftly complete negotiations with Essar creditors

After Emerging as the highest bidder for Essar Steel, global giant ArcelorMittal aims to complete the "negotiations as swiftly as possible" with the debt-laden firm's creditors committee.

The Lakshmi N Mittal-owned company, which is the world's largest steel maker, has been locked in a murky legal battle with other bidders, especially Russian VTB Bank-promoted NuMetal to take over Essar Steel, under the insolvency proceedings.

The company has been trying for long to enter India but has not succeeded so far. It had announced over a decade back to set up two plants - with 12 million tonnes per annum capacity each - in Jharkhand and Odisha, which could not be materialised.

"Now, look forward to completing negotiations as swiftly as possible", the company said after it emerged as the highest bidder for Essar Steel late last night.

Earlier, Mittal, Chairman and CEO of ArcelorMittal, told PTI in an interview that he would be surprised if the world's largest steelmaker with sound financials and strong technology will be declared ineligible to participate in the bid for Essar Steel.

Last night, the CoC of Essar Steel declared the firm as the preferred bidder for Essar Steel.

 

"ArcelorMittal confirms it has been informed by the Committee of Creditors (CoC) for Essar Steel India Limited (ESIL) that it has been evaluated to be the H1 Resolution Applicant (the preferred bidder) in the corporate insolvency resolution process for ESIL," ArcelorMittal said in a statement last night.

The company said it will now enter into further final negotiations with the CoC.

Essar Steel was among the 12 companies referred by the RBI for insolvency proceedings.

ArcelorMittal, earlier this week has said it will pay Rs 74.69 billion to the creditors of Uttam Galva and KKS Petron to be eligible to acquire the debt-laden firm, as per the Supreme Court order.

The Supreme Court on October 4 had granted one more opportunity to ArcelorMittal and NuMetal to bid for Essar Steel if they clear their non-performing asset (NPA) dues of their related corporate debtors within two weeks.

 

"ArcelorMittal announces that, in-line with the Indian Supreme Court ruling dated 4 October 2018, it has approved a payment of 74.69 billion rupees (approx $ 1 billion) to the financial creditors of Uttam Galva and KSS Petron to clear overdue debts in order that the offer it submitted for Essar Steel India Limited (ESIL) on 2 April 2018 is eligible and can be considered by ESIL's Committee of Creditors (CoC)," the Luxembourg-headquartered company said.

Of the Rs 74.69 billion payment, around 80 per cent will be used to settle the dues of Uttam Galva and the rest 20 per cent for KSS Petron.

ArcelorMittal has said its board of directors believes that "ESIL represents a unique and compelling opportunity for the Company to establish a significant footprint", with substantial expansion potential, in the high-growth Indian steel market.

Russia's VTB Bank on October 12 had moved the Supreme Court seeking clarification on its October 4 verdict by which mining major ArcelorMittal and NuMetal were granted another opportunity to bid for Essar Steel.

The Russian bank had recently indicated that it was likely to bid alone for the debt-ridden Essar Steel.

 

A bench of justices R F Nariman and Indu Malhotra had said that ArcelorMittal and NuMetal can bid for Essar Steel, provided the two pay off the non-performing assets (NPAs) of their related corporate debtors within two weeks from October 4.

It, however, had held that ArcelorMittal India Pvt Ltd and NuMetal Ltd were ineligible to file resolution plans for corporate debtor Essar Steel -- which had NPAs or bad debts amounting to Rs 450 billion -- as per the criteria laid down in the amended Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC).

With regard to NuMetal, the court held that it was a shell company of Essar Group promoter Ravi Ruia and could only become eligible after clearance of the NPAs of the group firms.

 

The court, however, had not specified NPAs of NuMetal's related corporate debtors which have to be paid off to become eligible to bid for corporate debtors Essar Steel.

Earlier, both the firms had moved the apex court against the decision of National Company Law Appellate Tribunal, which had ruled that NuMetal's second bid for Essar Steel was eligible, but the same by ArcelorMittal would qualify only if it cleared the Rs 70 billion dues of two firms it was previously associated with.

ArcelorMittal has presence in 60 countries and an industrial footprint in 18 countries.

In 2017, ArcelorMittal had revenues of $ 68.7 billion and crude steel production of 93.1 MT. It is listed on stock exchanges of New York, Amsterdam, Paris, Luxembourg and Spain.



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