Enron Relic Blocks India Producer’s Bid for Bankrupt Power Plant
Smoke rises from a chimney as electricity pylons stand at a thermal power station in India. (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)

Enron Relic Blocks India Producer’s Bid for Bankrupt Power Plant

(Bloomberg) -- NTPC Ltd.’s bid to buy an indebted power plant is being blocked by rules requiring the Indian state generator to first clear dues at its own unit, according to people with information on the matter.

Lenders to Jhabua Power Ltd. have told NTPC that Ratnagiri Gas & Power -- one of NTPC’s joint ventures once owned by Enron Corp. -- is a non-performing asset and regulations therefore disqualify NTPC’s bid. NTPC is seeking to buy Jhabua’s 600-MW plant, the people said, asking not to be identified as details are private.

NTPC is a late entrant into the market for stressed projects, which is heating up with firms including Deutsche Bank AG making bids. The urgency for Indian lenders to clean up their bad debt gives investors an opportunity to buy cheapened assets and profit when economic growth revives.

India’s largest power producer has made the highest bid of about 19 billion rupees ($267 million) for Jhabua’s coal-fired project.

Representatives for NTPC and Axis Bank Ltd., Jhabua’s lead lender, didn’t reply to requests for comment.

India’s bankruptcy rules bar companies owning non-performing assets from bidding for other stressed assets.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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