Rejected claims: Essar firms have lion’s share

Essar Steel, Essar firms, Essar Power Hazira, ArcelorMittal,  VTB Bank, Vedanta, tata steel The largest claim rejection was that of Essar Power amounting to Rs 893 crore of the Rs 912 crore it had claimed. (Reuters)

More than 40% of operational creditor claims rejected by the resolution professional (RP) of Essar Steel belong to companies related to Essar Steel, according to a document listing claims as on February 28. Of the Rs 3,154-crore rejected claims, Rs 1,351 crore are by Essar firms, the document shows.  The largest claim rejection was that of Essar Power amounting to Rs 893 crore of the Rs 912 crore it had claimed. According to a footnote detailing the reasons behind the rejection, Satish Kumar Gupta, the RP, said the claim has been verified, and amounts admitted are based upon verification of proof of claim and records available with Essar Steel.

“The resolution professional is currently in the process of communicating the amount admitted and or rejected along with reasons for rejection of amounts, if any, to the respective operational creditors on the email id provided in the claim form,” the RP said.  The other rejected claims include those of Essar firms EPC Constructions (Rs 456 crore), Essar Power Hazira (Rs 2 crore), Essar Academy (Rs 6.9 lakh) and Essar Infrastructure Hazira (Rs 1.1 lakh).

FE had reported earlier that the list of claimants of Essar Steel includes what appear to be 21 group companies, which are together looking to recover Rs 6,012 crore from the steelmaker. These claims account for approximately a fourth of the total claims filed by all operational creditors of Essar Steel, estimated at Rs 22,914 crore.
Meanwhile, Essar Steel, which had received resolution bids from ArcelorMittal and the VTB Bank-led Numetal, will see a second round of bidding as both the bids have been disqualified by the committee of creditors (CoC).

Consultancy firm Grant Thornton and law firm Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas were the two advisers to the RP on this matter. The bids were disqualified in the context of the amendment to the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), which categorically states that promoters of defaulting companies cannot bid unless they repay all the outstanding loans before submitting their resolution plan.  The other resolution applicants which had earlier submitted EOIs include Tata Steel, Vedanta and Sumitomo Corporation.

The last date for submitting the expression of interest was October 23, 2017. Since then, Tata Steel has already been recognised as the highest eligible bidder for the loss-making Bhushan Steel, another of the 12 large assets that were first referred to the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT).  In August last year, the NCLT had appointed Gupta as the interim resolution professional (IRP) for Essar Steel. The company is among the 12 companies which the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had asked banks to refer to the bankruptcy court. Essar Steel, which has a steel-making capacity of 9.7 MTPA, owes more than `45,000 crore to lenders.

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