In February 2019, the CoC led by Bank of India had approved the resolution plan submitted by the stated-owned JNPT to buy Dighi Port for Rs 853 crore ahead of APSEZ’s plan.
The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) on Wednesday directed the committee of creditors (CoC) of debt-laden Dighi Port to finalise its insolvency resolution plan in three weeks. A two-member bench headed by Justice SJ Mukhopadhyay asked the CoC to consider all resolution plans including that from Balaji Infra Projects, the promoter of Dighi Port. The private port operator owes Rs 3,000 crore to its creditors.
The NCLAT will further hear the case on September 19. Dighi Port had received resolution plans from three parties: Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT), Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone (APSEZ) and Veritas Consortium in December 2018 for revival of the Maharashtra-based port.
In February 2019, the CoC led by Bank of India had approved the resolution plan submitted by the stated-owned JNPT to buy Dighi Port for Rs 853 crore ahead of APSEZ’s plan. The NCLT had ratified the CoC’s decision in May. Since then, state-owned JNPT has withdrawn its offer due to certain modifications suggested by the tribunal.
Adani Port, the country’s biggest private port operator, had challenged the rejection of its bid at the NCLAT. On July 24, the NCLAT had allowed the Dighi port promoter, to discuss and mutually settle the lenders dues to bring the company out of insolvency proceedings. Balaji Infra informed the appellate tribunal on Wednesday that a proposal will be submitted to the CoC for consideration.
“We (promoters) have held two meetings with the creditors so far. We will be able to satisfy all of them. We have bettered the value offered by JNPT and Adani,” the counsel for Balaji Infra said.
Dighi Port was dragged into insolvency proceedings by an operational creditor —DBM Geotechnics and Construction for defaulting on Rs 30-crore payment. The Mumbai bench of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) had admitted the insolvency plea in March 2018. Adani argued that their plan should be considered since JNPT is out of the race now.
Despite quoting the highest value for Dighi Port, 99.38% of the CoC members rejected the Adani offer and approved the JNPT’s resolution plan which proposed to pay Rs 651 crore to a clutch of 18 financial creditors, invest a further Rs 191 crore as equity to improve the operations of Dighi port and pay `11.4 crore to Maharashtra Maritime Board.