The bench also questioned if enough has been done to recover the loans given by Monnet Ispat to its subsidiaries, associates, and other companies including Monnet Power and Monnet Global.
A decision on the sale of Monnet Ispat and Energy to the JSW Steel-Aion Investments combine remained inconclusive for the second straight day on Wednesday at the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT), with the bench seeking detailed clarifications on the resolution plan.
The Mumbai bench of the NCLT asked for clarity on the method followed for arriving at the liquidation value, payment of dues to unsecured financial creditors who have dissented, regulatory approvals required and the inclusion of certain assets of Monnet Ispat in the resolution plan. The bench will hear the matter again on May 4.
Questioning the inclusion of the Gare Palma coal mine in Chhattisgarh as an asset of the company in the resolution plan, the bench asked, “The licence was cancelled by the government. How could you consider this as an asset of the company even after the NCLT order?”
In January, the Mumbai bench of the NCLT had dismissed a petition by Monnet Ispat’s resolution professional against the ministry of coal for issuing a termination notice of the Gare Palma mine. The government had issued the termination notice last December.
The bench also questioned if enough has been done to recover the loans given by Monnet Ispat to its subsidiaries, associates, and other companies including Monnet Power and Monnet Global. According to details shared at the tribunal, total loans given by Monnet Ispat to subsidiaries, associates and other companies stand at Rs 935 crore.
The judge sought clarification on whether all the receivables of the company have been factored in the liquidation value. “If you compare this to the overall dues to the financial creditors, it might seem to be a small amount. But if you look at it independently, it is big,” the bench said.
The liquidation value of the company has been pegged at Rs 2,365 crore, while the total admitted dues of the financial creditors stand at Rs 11,000 crore, and those of the operational creditors at Rs 440 crore.
The resolution plan submitted by the JSW Steel-Aion Investment combine offers upfront payment of Rs 2,457 crore to the lenders, another Rs 219 crore through optionally convertible preferential shares and an additional Rs 212 crore through fresh equity of 12.5%, according to information shared by the resolution professional’s legal counsel Ravi Kadam during the hearing. If the plan is accepted by the NCLT, bankers will have to take a hefty haircut of close to 75%.
The judge also questioned the rationale behind the dissenting unsecured financial creditors not being paid any of their dues. Kotak Mahindra Bank was the only dissenting unsecured financial creditor. On Tuesday, it had appealed before the court to allow it to be classified as an assenting creditor. On Wednesday, it withdrew its application after it was indicated that the regulatory requirements to effect the change would delay the resolution process.
The insolvency resolution process for Monnet Ispat began on July 18, 2017 under the provision of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (IBC) and the deadline for resolution in 270 days is over. Sumit Binani was appointed as the resolution professional (RP).
Monnet Ispat owns an integrated steel plant of 1.5 million metric tonne per annum along with associated facilities including sponge iron plant, pellet plant, sinter plant and a captive power plant in Chhattisgarh. It also owns coal beneficiation facilities in Chhattisgarh and Odisha.
The company was one of the top 12 accounts to be referred to the National Company Law Tribunal last year.