Avantha Holdings offers Rs 24.3 billion to save Jhabua power plant

Gautam Thapar group promoted Avantha Holdings has offered to pay Rs 24.30 billion to lenders to escape insolvency proceedings for its Jhabua power plant. 

The plant is one of the projects for which lenders, led by Axis Bank, were looking for suitors outside the IBC. The lenders have meanwhile cancelled the bid of the little-known Worlds Window group that had emerged as the successful bidder for the power plant through three of its firms. 

The Worlds Window group was backed by London-based GFG Alliance, Srei Alternative Investment and Goyal MG Gases. Liberty House, a part of GFG Alliance, is in trouble for two of its other bids for insolvent assets — Amtek and Adhunik Metaliks.  

The Avantha offer is higher than Rs 23.50 billion the Worlds Window group’s bid, which was rejected on the grounds of not meeting certain requirements before the October 15 deadline for signing a definitive agreement. 

The Gautam Thapar-led Avantha group plans to take Rs 19 billion from Deustche Bank, while it is also discussion with investors for another Rs 5.3 billion through an equity infusion.

In a letter to Axis Bank — one of the lenders to the power plant —  Avantha Holdings said it would be in a position to pay up the dues in three months from the date of receiving final acceptance from lenders. 

While an Avantha group did not respond to email queries, an Axis Bank’s spokesperson, said the bank did not comment on client-specific matters.

Avantha Power and Infrastructure has an operational power generation capacity of 626 Mw, with another 660 Mw of capacity under implementation.

Jhabua Power (JPL), a subsidiary of Avantha Power & Infrastructure, is based at Seoni district in Madhya Pradesh. With the plant having its 71 per cent of 600 Mw capacity tied up for sale with Madhya Pradesh and Kerala, and its fuel linkage in place, it is one of the attractive power assets on sale. 

Industry players like JSW group were keen on the asset but did not eventually put in a bid. Though, under the Reserve Bank of India’s February 12 circular lenders were asked to refer all defaulting companies to the insolvency court, companies across a host of sectors including power got a reprieve from the Supreme Court in September for two months from the order. The next hearing will be held on November 14.

While cancelling the placement of letter of intent on Worlds Window, lenders said the letter and documents of fund commitment by GFG Alliance and Srei “do not inspire any confidence” regarding funding for the transaction. 

The GFG letter of support was rejected on the ground that it was subject to certain “terms and conditions” that were not spelt out. “Further the letter does not cover the entire amount of consideration for the proposed transaction,” lenders said in their communication to Worlds Window. 

Besides Jhabua, Avantha has a 26 Mw gas-based captive power in Malanpur in Bhind district of Madhya Pradesh.

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