A security guard pulls a gate across the logo of Hutchison Essar Ltd. at the company’s corporate office in Mumbai, India. (Photographer: Abhijit Bhatlekar/Bloomberg News)

Numetal Moves NCLT To Reinforce Its Eligibility To Bid For Essar Steel

Numetal Mauritius, one of the two bidders for Essar Steel Ltd. under the insolvency process, today approached the the National Company Law Tribunal on the eve of a creditors’ meeting.

The Mauritius-based bidder is seeking a declaration from the Ahmedabad bench of the NCLT on its eligibility to bid for Essar Steel, saying that its resolution plan was not adequately assessed by the resolution professional appointed in the matter.

The committee of creditors for Essar Steel is meeting to decide on the eligibility of Numetal and ArcelorMittal India, the second bidder in the case. Satish Kumar Gupta, the resolution professional for Essar Steel, recently concluded a due diligence process to determine the eligibility.

Both Numetal Mauritius and ArcelorMittal’s bids have been under a cloud after the government amended the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code late last year to stop defaulting promoters from bidding for insolvency assets. In case of Numetal, Rewant Ruia, son of Essar Group co-Founder Ravi Ruia, is a minority shareholder in the company. ArcelorMittal India was a 29 percent shareholder and co-promoter in Uttam Galva Steel Ltd. that’s been declared a non-performing asset. The India arm of the Luxembourg-based company exited its Uttam Galva stake earlier this year, as disclosed in an exchange filing.

In its order dated March 20, the Ahmedabad bench of the tribunal said that it does not intend to stall the lenders’ meeting or disrupt the resolution process. However, it has sought a response to Numetal’s plea from the resolution professional and the CoC. The tribunal added that any decision taken by the creditors today would be subject to final order of the NCLT in the matter.

The Numetal plea is up for hearing on April 4.