Sajjan Jindal, chairman and managing director, JSW Group, said on Thursday that JSW Steel might tweak its offer for the near-bankrupt Monnet Ispat. Jindal was speaking at a press conference following the annual general meeting of JSW Energy. An offer by JSW Steel to buy a controlling stake in the loss-making Monnet has been rejected by lenders. State Bank of India (SBI) told the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) on Thursday the offer was not acceptable in the “current form”. Monnet Ispat said at the hearing the NCLT proceedings could jeopardise a possible deal with JSW Steel.
The counsel appearing on behalf of SBI said the company had defaulted on loans of Rs 1,539 crore. However, the judge questioned certain ambiguities in SBI’s petition as the claim put forth by the bank was higher than the stated default, at Rs 2,242 crore. He asked the counsel to file a written submission clarifying how much the bank was claiming from the company.
Citing data from the Central Repository of Information on Large Credits, SBI told the court that while it has classified the exposure to Monnet as sub-standard, a few other lenders in the consortium have classified it as doubtful. He added that banks hold a 51% stake in the company.
The counsel for Monnet said the company’s board of directors would meet soon and that there could be a concrete decision regarding the resolution of its defaults. He informed the court that winding-up petitions were filed against the company in the Chhattisgarh High Court and have been dismissed on March 9.
He alleged that SBI has failed to provide details of interest calculated from the date of default on all the loans and added that the bank has not presented before the court a letter from the consortium authorising it to act on behalf of all the lenders.
Monnet Ispat has an integrated steel plant of 1.5 million tonnes per annum capacity along with associated facilities including 0.80 mtpa sponge iron, two mpta pellet plants, 0.95 mtpa sinter plant and 230 MW captive power plant in Chhattisgarh along with 7.5 mtpa coal beneficiation facilities in Chhattisgarh and Odisha.
In November 2015, lenders had decided to convert Rs 368 crore debt to equity at Rs 34.20 per share under the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) strategic debt restructuring scheme. In FY17, the New Delhi-based firm had posted a net loss of Rs 1,734 crore on Rs 1,375 crore in revenues.
The RBI had on June 13 had asked banks to refer a dozen troubled companies to the NCLT. The total exposure to the 12 companies adds up to a little over Rs 2 lakh crore, or about 30% of the Rs 7 lakh crore worth of gross non-performing assets (NPAs) in the banking system. The central bank has said the 12 accounts on the list constitute about 25% of the current gross NPAs of the banking system.
The 12 accounts identified by the central bank are those to which banks have an exposure of more than Rs 5,000 crore, more than 60% of which has been recognised as NPAs. Once these cases are with the NCLT, the lenders need to set up a committee of creditors that will come up with a plan on how the asset will be tackled. If the committee is unable to find a solution within 180 days — this can be extended to 270 days — the borrowing entity will go into liquidation.