Jindal Steel keen to acquire bankrupt Reliance Naval & Engineering

For Jindal Steel, controlled by Naveen Jindal, Reliance Naval can be a captive client for the company’s shipbuilding plates
Jindal Steel & Power, India’s third-largest producer of the alloy by market value, and two other groups were the latest to express interest in bidding for Reliance Naval & Engineering, according to sources.

For Jindal Steel, controlled by Naveen Jindal, Reliance Naval can be a captive client for the company’s shipbuilding plates, said Vidya Rattan Sharma, managing director at the steelmaker, who confirmed Jindal’s interest. Du­bai-based shipping firm GMS and Kotak Special Situations Fund were among the others that registered to bid as of the Feb. 28 deadline, according to the people, who asked not to be identified.

The process to find a buyer for the indebted shipyard, once controlled by former billionaire Anil Ambani, began in May with deadlines being extended four times already. A successful sale of Reliance Naval will help creditors, including IDBI Bank and SBI recoup part of the company’s Rs 10,800 crore of debt.

GMS, one of the world’s largest buyers of ships for recycling, the Kotak fund and Sudip Bhattacharya, the insolvency resolution professional for Reliance Naval, didn’t immediately respond to em­ails for comment. “We are looking at it in two ways,” Jindal Steel’s Sharma said in an interview. “One is the strategic location as it is port based and the other is that it can be a good outlet to consume our own plates.”

Jindal isn’t partnering with any company for the bid, Sharma said. The port unit of A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S, the world’s largest container carrier, and 11 other groups had bid for the asset last year. Maersk’s unit though pulled out, the Hindu Businessline reported in October.  

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