Adani Ports’ Rs 650 Crore Bid For Dighi Port Gets NCLT Nod
Gantry cranes used for handling container shipments sit idle on a quayside at a Chinese port in China. (Photographer: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg)  

Adani Ports’ Rs 650 Crore Bid For Dighi Port Gets NCLT Nod

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The National Company Law Tribunal has approved Rs 650 crore resolution plan submitted by Adani Ports & Special Economic Zone Ltd. for debt-ridden Dighi Port, located south of Mumbai.

The resolution came with a huge 79.2 percent haircut to the lenders, as they had made a claim of Rs 3,098 crore. The successful bid will give Adani Ports access to Maharashtra, where it had no presence, even though the group straddles the entire coastline of the country with 11 operational ports and an under-construction transhipment terminal at Vizhinjam in southern Kerala.

It can be noted that Dighi Port was the first port to go for bankruptcy in April 2018. The 16-member committee of creditors led by Bank of India, which collectively have 99.68 percent voting shares, has approved APSEZ's revised offer of an upfront cash payout of Rs 650 crore, the NCLT said in an order dated March 5.

Dighi Port, promoted by industrialist Vijay Kalantri owes Rs 3,098 crore to the lenders. He had made an offer of Rs 720 crore, but was rejected by the lenders. Bids by JNPT, APSEZ and Veritas Consortium were considered by the CoC initially but finally went with APSEZ, as the flagship company of the Adani Group, came up with the highest bid, the order said.

APSEZ is the largest port operator in the private sector with 11 facilities across the west and east coasts and operates the country's largest container terminal at Kandla in Gujarat. In October 2019, the NCLAT had asked the NCLT Mumbai to decide on APSEZ's bid for Dighi Port.

Also read: NCLAT Upholds CCI Order On Adani Gas For Abuse Of Dominant Position

The NCLT had reserved its order over an application moved by the resolution professional of Dighi Port for approval of the Rs 650 crore bid by APSEZ. The resolution process was delayed as promoter Kalandtri made a counter-offer with a higher upfront payment of Rs 720 crore. It can be noted the amended bankruptcy codes debars defaulters from bidding for an asset initially promoted by them.

The lenders had voted in favour of APSEZ and rejected the promoters' offer to settle the dues under Section 12A of the bankruptcy code. In November 2018, government-owned Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust, Adani Ports and a consortium of Veritas India and UV Asset Reconstruction Company had submitted bids to acquire Dighi Port. But in July 2019, JNPT withdrew its bid after the NCLT suggested modifications in its offer.

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