Avantha set to sell Solaris to Agrocel for Rs 800 crore

Avantha Group is set to sell its agro chemicals unit, Solaris ChemTech, to Agrocel Industries for about Rs 800 crore as the Gautam Thapar-controlled firm is selling its non-core businesses to repay some outstanding debt. Agrocel, part of the Shroff Group of Companies which includes Excel Industries, is expected to sign definitive agreement in the coming week and an announcement is due before year-end, multiple sources with knowledge of the matter told. The transaction is expected to bring some relief to Avantha Group, which has total debt of more than Rs 12,500 crore. Lenders have already dragged one of the group companies, Bilt Graphic Papers, which borrowed close to Rs 7,000 crore, to NCLT to initiate bankruptcy proceedings against the company. The group has been desperately trying to sell this asset for a long time. They did try a deal with a strategic US investor, but it couldn’t complete it. However, this time, they struck a deal with Agrocel and a definitive agreement will be signed within a week, said one of the sources mentioned above. Since the inception of India’s Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) more than two years ago, distressed M&A values in India have totalled $14.3 billion and a promising pipeline of opportunities continues to build, according to a study by Mergermarket and Kroll in October. Since 2017, distressed M&A values in India were 12% of total M&A value. Two-thirds of distressed transactions were classified as direct where the asset itself was distressed, while the remaining one-third of indirect transactions resulted in a sale because the parent organisation was in distress, the study added.

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