16 April 2019: Liberty House Group has failed to pay the Rs 410-crore offer money for stressed steel company Adhunik Metaliks within the deadline set by the bankruptcy court. The UK-based conglomerate cited lack of statutory approvals for the delay, but some people close to lenders said it just could not secure funding.
The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal had on March 15 dismissed a claim by state-owned MSTC that it be paid dues of Rs 108 crore as part of the resolution plan to clear the final hurdle in the way of Liberty House to make the deal payment that it was originally supposed to make in October last year. NCLAT had also asked the British firm led by India-born Sanjeev Gupta to pay the deal amount within 30 days. That deadline ended on Sunday.
“We are working on procuring statutory and regulatory approvals which are a vital part of the implementation plan,” Liberty House said in a statement confirming missing the deadline.
A person close to Liberty House said a few approvals that were required to be sought from the stock exchanges had not been received yet. The approvals would have been in the nature of allowing Liberty House to infuse cash in the Kolkata-based steel maker by buying shares and debentures, the person said.
However, a person close to the lenders said, “It seems that the company is having issues securing funding from abroad.”
The monitoring committee set up to oversee Adhunik’s sale had on April 5 approved issuance of shares and debentures worth .`40 crore to Liberty House in line with its resolution plan.
The way forward will now be decided by the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) on the next hearing in Kolkata on April 30.
This is not the first time that Liberty House has failed to meet the deadline for payment after emerging the successful resolution bidder for a bankruptcy-facing company. Earlier, it failed to bring in the money within the stipulated time for Amtek Auto, prompting NCLT to allow its creditors to go for a fresh round of bidding.
The London-based takeover tycoon Gupta’s firm was also the sole bidder for ABG Shipyard. It had also emerged the successful bidder for Castex Technologies, a debtridden subsidiary of Amtek Auto. Liberty House has not managed to take over any of these firms.