The Committee of Creditors (CoC) of Binani Cement on Friday asked Dalmia Bharat Cement led consortium to match the Rs 79.60 billion offer from UltraTech Cement for acquisition of the stressed assets of Binani Cement.
After conclusion of the much-awaited CoC meeting, where the proposal from UltraTech was discussed in details, the lenders equivocally termed its proposal as monetarily superior but agreed to ask Dalmia Bharat Cement led consortium – Rajputana Properties Pvt Ltd (RPPL) – to match the offer from UltraTech, as per the order from the Kolkata bench of NCLT.
Previously, after its selection as the H1 bidder, Dalmia Bharat had sought the approval of NCLT to complete the acquisition process. However, UltraTech, Binani Cement, operational creditors as well as two financial creditors had opposed the move. Finally, the Tribunal, in its order, admitted UltraTech’s offer and asked the CoC to consider Dalmia Bharat’s offer only if it scales up its offer monetarily.
“Discussions on UltraTech's proposal took place in details at length and the CoC has asked Dalmia Bharat to match the offer. In case it doesn't, then they are out of the race”, a source in the CoC told Business Standard.
Although the CoC didn’t arrive at any conclusions on Friday to select the preferred bidder, the next meeting is scheduled on Wednesday or Thursday (23-24 May) next week where a final call may be taken.
It follows May 22 – the day when Dalmia Bharat’s plea to stay NCLT’s order will be up for hearing in the NCLAT. Although an initial stay on this CoC meeting was not granted, the Appellate Tribunal had slotted the hearing of this case on May 22.
Dalmia Bharat is not keen to revise its offer, which is atleast Rs 11 billion lower than UltraTech’s and has reinstated that it followed the legal procedure in the entire bidding process.
Sources suggested that Dalmia Bharat may consider revision of the offer only after the May 22 hearing in NCLAT.
“Dalmia Bharat’s decision may well depend on what happens in NCLAT on May 22. It is unlikely to revise its offer before that date”, the source opined.
As per another source in the CoC, in case Dalmia Bharat ups its offer, the CoC will ask UltraTech to match the revision from Dalmia Bharat which may open up a possibility of a modified form of open bidding.
However, the decision of the CoC will depend upon the verdict at NCLAT where multiple accusations on the Binani Cement case have stacked up.
Dalmia Bharat has been trying to obtain a stay on this CoC meeting from taking place.
After it failed to obtain a stay in NCLAT, RPPL had moved the Supreme Court where the apex court also didn’t interfere in the scheduled CoC meeting. Afterwards, it wrote to the RP and the CoC alleging that UltraTech is ineligible to bid as per Section 29 (A) of IBC. This section deals with various clauses making a bidder ineligible to place any bids.
Acting upon the allegation, the RP had cancelled the CoC meeting which he himself had scheduled on May 10 to probe the accusation.
However, while hearing a plea from UltraTech the NCLAT directed the RP not to verify the accusation on eligibility himself and place it before the CoC for discussion with his own comments. Following this ruling, the RP had called for this CoC meeting.
The CoC, on Friday’s meeting, has concluded that UltraTech is eligible to bid for Binani Cement.
Dhaval Vussonji of Dhaval Associates, who represented the claims of the operational creditors in the CoC meeting said, “It was a very positive discussion which took place and the RP has stated that he is re-checking the claims of the operational creditors and wherever the necessary documents to reinstate the claims are lacking, the RP is asking for the same from the respective creditors”.
Against the claim of Rs 6 billion, the RP has admitted claims of Rs. 4.5 billion. The rest of the claim is now being rechecked.