ArcelorMittal and Numetal cleared to bid for Essar Steel

India’s supreme court rejects earlier decision by insolvency practitioner

Essar Steel’s large Hazira plant on India’s west coast has attracted the interest of ArcelorMittal

Essar Steel’s large Hazira plant on India’s west coast has attracted the interest of ArcelorMittal

 

India’s supreme court has delivered a long-awaited judgment on the contest for Essar Steel, opening the final act in a bidding war between metals giant ArcelorMittal and a consortium linked to Essar’s founding Ruia family.

The court ruled on Thursday that both parties are eligible to bid, rejecting the insolvency practitioner’s earlier decision to bar both from the process.

Essar Steel’s large Hazira plant on India’s west coast has attracted the interest of ArcelorMittal, whose chairman Lakshmi Mittal has struggled to secure a meaningful presence in the land of his birth.

His bid faces competition from Numetal, a new company created by a member of the Ruia family and owned largely by their longstanding financier VTB Bank of Russia.

Essar Steel, which has outstanding debts of Rs490 billion (€5.8 billion), is the most high-profile test to date of India’s landmark new bankruptcy law, which was designed to end a pattern of owners clinging to companies while forcing losses on creditors. – Financial Times