Race for Bhushan: NCLT tells lenders to consider late bid by Liberty House

By: | Published: April 24, 2018 5:19 AM

The National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) on Monday asked lenders to Bhushan Power and Steel, led by Punjab National Bank, to consider the late bid submitted by UK-based Liberty House for the bankrupt company.

Bhushan Power and Steel, bhushan steel, nclt, Punjab National Bank, resolution professional, tata steel, jsw steel, Amtek Auto, Liberty HouseThe two bidders who had submitted their bids by the deadline of February 8 were Tata Steel and JSW Steel.

The National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) on Monday asked lenders to Bhushan Power and Steel, led by Punjab National Bank, to consider the late bid submitted by UK-based Liberty House for the bankrupt company. Liberty House had, on February 26, challenged the rejection of its bid by the resolution professional (RP) on the grounds it had been submitted late. The two bidders who had submitted their bids by the deadline of February 8 were Tata Steel and JSW Steel. It was not clear whether these two steelmakers would challenge the order. The decisions opens up the possibility of bids being submitted late but being entertained by the NCLT. Bhushan Power and Steel owed lenders close to Rs 47,000 crore as on March 31, 2017.

A two-member NCLT bench, headed by justice MM Kumar, said on Monday the bid by Liberty House could not be disqualified only on the grounds it had been submitted after the deadline. “The resolution plan of the Liberty House shall not be rejected on the ground of delay emanating from process document or any other document internally circulated by the RP or the CoC (committee of creditors). The rejection shall be on some substantive ground as against flimsy one,” the bench said.
The tribunal has now directed the CoC to complete its resolution proceedings by June 23.

The bench’s order noted that since the resolution plan is under consideration and yet to be decided by the CoC there is still considerable time left for completion of resolution process, “It is expected that CoC will take appropriate commercial decision in terms of the code, rules and regulations in order to achieve the object of the Code.”

Liberty House has emerged the highest bidder for Amtek Auto and had offered to pay approximately Rs 4,334 crore. Spokespersons for Tata Steel and JSW Steel had not commented till the time of going to press. Bhushan Power and Steel was among the 12 non-performing assets the Reserve Bank of India had referred for insolvency proceedings in June last year.

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