Corporate resolution: Larsen & Toubro moves NCLT against Bhushan Steel
A corporate tug-of-war has broken loose, with infrastructure major Larsen & Toubro (L&T) moving the National Company Law Tribunalâ€™s (NCLTâ€™s) Delhi Bench against the Bhushan Steel resolution process. Tata Steel on Wednesday had announced it had emerged the highest bidder for the Delhi-based steel company, beating Sajjan Jindal-promoted JSW. L&T alleged that Bhushan Steel, undergoing corporate resolution, had defaulted on payment of Rs 9.62 billion for construction of its Angul factory in Odisha. Under the procedure set by the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), L&T had claimed the amount by filing a prescribed form with the resolution professional (RP) Vijay Kumar Iyer of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu in August 2017. This is the second insolvency case where Tata Steel had emerged the highest bidder, but the process has been questioned in the NCLT.
Tata Steel and the UK-based Liberty House are locked in another legal dispute over Bhushan Power & Steel, which also came up for hearing on Thursday. The L&T case, however, is just the tip of the iceberg. Lawyers suspect operational creditors will be moving the tribunal to recover their dues in other companies as well. Unsecured creditors of Binani Cement, Bhushan Power & Steel and Essar Steel are planning to move the tribunal as they have been left out of the entire process and no communication has been made to them about their dues. The present resolution plan is one-sided and favours only the lenders. The non-financial creditors therefore, plan to take legal action, said one lawyer. In the case of Binani Cement, for instance, UltraTech had, in fact, made an offer to give 100 per cent dues of non-financial creditors. But the Dalmia Bharat offer, ultimately declared the highest bidder, took care of only one non-financial creditor, IDBI Bank, while leaving the rest out in the cold. Binani Cement has 3,000 small- and medium-sized creditors/suppliers taking legal advice to move the tribunal against the resolution plan. During a hearing on Thursday, L&T argued it should not be treated as an operational creditor of Bhushan Steel. The company’s counsel said they should get the status of a secured creditor. The NCLT ordered Bhushan Steel to submit a reply via its RP. The next date of hearing has been fixed on March 23. Neeraj Singhal-promoted Bhushan Steel had received resolution plans from JSW Steel and employees of Bhushan Steel. The Odisha-based company operates a 5.6 million tonne capacity plant and is a high-margin flat product business that caters to the domestic as well as the auto export market. As on March 31, 2017, Bhushan Steel had a debt of Rs 481 billion. Corporate resolution: Larsen & Toubro moves NCLT against Bhushan Steel In its petition, L&T said the plant and machinery supplied by it to Bhushan Steel were “a property attached to the earth” under Section 3 of the Transfer of Property Act, and, hence, these would come under the ambit of immoveable property. Since “works evaluated at Rs 9.62 billion remained outstanding from the respondent (Bhushan Steel) due to its non-performance of the contract and the machines stand embedded into the earth, the applicant (L&T) has a charge to the extent of the unpaid amount”. L&T argued that it was a secured creditor under the IBC.
ARTICLE SOURCE- BUSINESS STANDARD.
Published on Mar 9, 2018
Published on Mar 9, 2018
Corporate resolution: Larsen & Toubro moves NCLT against Bhushan Steel The move follows Tata Steel's announcement that it emerged as the hig...