4 July 2019: The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) on Thursday approved Lakshmi Mittal-led ArcelorMittal’s plan for Essar Steel India Limited. The appellate tribunal had on May 21 heard the contentions of all the parties and reserved its judgment in the case. The distribution of amount for all operational and financial creditors will be reflected in ArcelorMittal’s resolution plan. The Committee of Creditors (CoC) will have no role in this distribution.
The NCLAT allowed the claims of Dakshin Gujarat, Gujarat Energy, BPCL, IOCL, GAIL, ONGC and NTPC.
ArcelorMittal had told NCLAT that it would pay Rs 42,000 crore, including a minimum of guarantee of Rs 2,500 crore as working capital, for acquiring debt-laden Essar Steel under the insolvency process.
In April, the Supreme Court had halted distribution of funds among operational and financial creditors from the Luxembourg-based firm’s Rs 42,000-crore resolution plan for Essar Steel India. This was after the lenders to Essar Steel had challenged a direction of the NCLAT asking the resolution professional (RP) to call a fresh meeting of the committee to consider the redistribution of funds among the creditors.
ArcelorMittal’s Rs 42,000 crore resolution plan for Essar Steel was approved by the NCLT on March 8. In its judgment, the NCLT had observed that though it did not want to change the resolution plan approved by the CoC, it would suggest the lender to reconsider distribution of dues and give 15 per cent of the total offer to operational creditors.
The Lakshmi Mittal-led company has been fighting for the control of Essar Steel for well over 600 days now. The case has seen many twists and turns, including a settlement plan of Rs 54,389 crore made by the promoters of Essar Steel, who offered to pay off the entire debt. The plan was, however, rejected by the NCLT.
ArcelorMittal’s bid, on the other hand, includes an upfront payment of Rs 42,000 crore towards the debt resolution of Essar Steel, with an additional Rs 8,000 crore of capital infusion into the company to support operational improvement, increase production levels, and deliver enhanced levels of profitability. In October 2018, the CoC of Essar Steel had voted to approve ArcelorMittal’s plan and a letter of intent was issued.