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Decide on ArcelorMittal’s bid by March 8, NCLAT tells NCLT

If the NCLT Ahmedabad bench fails to pass the final order by March 8, the NCLAT would call on all the records and resolution plan, and pass an appropriate order by March 13

By: ENS Economic Bureau | New Delhi |
March 1, 2019 4:53:45 am
Essar, Essar group, Essar steel, Essar debt, Essar crisis, business news Essar Steel owes over Rs 49,000 crore to over two dozen banks led by SBI; an insolvency petition against the company was admitted by NCLT Ahmedabad on August 2, 2017.

The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT), on Thursday, for the fourth time extended the deadline till March 8 for the Ahmedabad bench of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) to pass the final order on the Essar Steel insolvency matter.

The fourth extension, however, came with an ultimatum. If the NCLT Ahmedabad bench fails to pass the final order by that date, the appellate tribunal would call on all the records and resolution plan submitted by the resolution professional to itself and pass an appropriate order by March 13.

Hearing preferred bidder ArcelorMittal’s plea for directing the NCLT to approve its plan for the debt-ridden firm at the earliest, the NCLAT had on January 3 asked NCLT to “pass final order” on an early date. In case it does not, “it will be open to the appellant to bring this fact before this appellate tribunal,” it had said.

On January 23, the NCLAT had asked the NCLT “by way of last opportunity” to pass the order on Essar Steel’s resolution plan by January 31. It also said that if the NCLT bench failed to pass any order by January 31, it would then call the matter and pass an order accordingly on the next date of hearing, slated on February 4.

On February 4, it again asked NCLT Ahmedabad to give a chance to dissenting financial creditor Standard Chartered Bank and one representative of the operational creditors to place their objections on ArcelorMittal’s resolution plan before passing an order by February 11.

“If no order is passed by February 11, 2019, this appellate tribunal may call for records and pass appropriate order under section 31 of the IBC,” the NCLAT had said.

On February 12, the NCLAT had said, “We hope and trust the hearing (by NCLT) will be taken up on day-to-day basis and be concluded by February 19, 2019. Thereafter appropriate order be passed immediately thereon.” It posted the matter for further hearing on February 28.

Essar Steel, which runs a 10-million-tonne steel mill in Gujarat, owes over Rs 49,000 crore to over two dozen banks led by State Bank of India. An insolvency petition against the company was admitted by NCLT Ahmedabad on August 2, 2017.

Essar Steel lenders had on October 25 last year voted in favour of ArcelorMittal’s offer of upfront payment of Rs 42,000 crore to the lenders and an additional Rs 8,000 crore towards capital expenditure. —FE

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