The Delhi High Court on Tuesday restrained Srei Infrastructure from transferring its controlling stake in Odisha Slurry Pipeline to Numetal Mauritius until April 5, the next date of hearing. The court’s order was on the petition of State Bank of India, which had petitioned that Odisha Slurry Pipeline, which supplies raw materials to Essar Steel’s Odisha plant, cannot sell its stake without its (lender’s) approval.
Numetal Mauritius on Monday emerged as one of the bidders for the debt-laden Essar Steel under the insolvency resolution proceedings. Principal shareholders in Numetal are understood to be Russia’s VTB Capital while some members of the Ruia family are believed to be minority stakeholders. The other bidder for Essar Steel is LN Mittal’s ArcelorMittal.
In fact, the sale of Essar Steel’s controlling stake in the 253 km slurry pipeline to Srei Infrastructure in 2015 is also under a stay by the Calcutta High Court after a consortium of lenders’ to Essar Steel had objected and the matter is still pending for final disposal before the Calcutta court.
Essar Steel, which is an integrated steel producer, has an annual production capacity of 10 million tonnes and its manufacturing facility comprises ore beneficiation, pellet making, iron making, steel making and downstream facilities. Insolvency proceeding against the company was admitted by the Ahmedabad bench of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) on August 2, 2017.
The consolidated debt of the loss-making company stood at Rs 37,284 crore at the end of March 2016. It posted a net loss of Rs 5,795 crore. Data from the company’s website as on February 9, 2018, show that financial creditors had submitted claims worth `54,857 crore, while claims worth Rs 49,213 crore were admitted by the NCLT.