Mutual Fund

Insolvency process: Lenders vote on JSW’s offer for Bhushan Power

Voting on JSW Steel’s revised offer of Rs 193.50 billion for Bhushan Power & Steel, currently going through the insolvency process, started on Monday. The results of the voting may be known by Tuesday, sources said. In the second round of bidding, JSW had submitted the highest offer at Rs 193.50 billion, up from Rs 110 billion submitted in February. Bhushan Power owes its lenders around Rs 470 billion. The other offers are somewhat like this: Tata Steel is at Rs 166 billion and Liberty House at Rs 185.90 billion. Sources said lenders decided to go ahead with the voting after JSW Steel got the CCI approval for Bhushan Power. However, some sources indicated, a challenge from other bidders cannot be ruled out. Legal experts pointed to the Supreme Court order in the Essar case, which had wider implications for all cases under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC). According to one of the key points in the order, an unsuccessful resolution applicant would have to wait till the committee of creditors (CoC) approves a resolution plan. Before JSW revised its offer, Tata Steel had been selected as the highest qualified bidder for Bhushan Power. The Bhushan Power case had seen many twists and turns. First, Liberty joined the fray with a late bid, which was initially rejected by the CoC but allowed by the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT). Tata Steel challenged it in the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT). Finally, JSW Steel revised its offer. If JSW Steel wins Bhushan Power, it would give the company a toehold in the east. Bhushan Power has a three-million tonne steelmaking capacity, which JSW believes can be ramped up to 5.5 million tonnes (MT) at a nominal cost. To maintain its leadership position, JSW has made an aggressive bid for Bhushan Power, which also happens to be its lone bet. With the acquisition of Bhushan Steel by Tata Steel, under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), the two domestic players were within a whisker of each other in terms of capacity. JSW Steel has a capacity of 18 million tonnes. For Monnet Ispat & Energy, JSW had tied up with AION and the latter was the senior partner. In Bhushan Steel, it had bid with Piramal. Sources close to the development, however, said, JSW could *partner a private equity for raising funds* for Bhushan Power, if its bid was finally successful. For Essar, in the second round, JSW Steel joined in as an investor in the operating company of Numetal that would be implementing the resolution plan. However, JSW is understood to be seeking legal opinion to bid solo.

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