Sanjeev Gupta in Board Tussle as Spat for Aluminum Firm Heats Up
(Bloomberg) -- The board fight between industrialist Sanjeev Gupta and U.S. private equity group American Industrial Partners is heating up.
The executive, who was ousted from a Belgian aluminum plant unit earlier this month, has successfully battled in court to be appointed back to the board on July 14. It’s a temporary win for Gupta and buys him time to find a solution with creditors, who are trying to seize control of the asset.
A commercial court in Antwerp reinstated Gupta as head of the Alvance Aluminium Duffel BV unit on July 14, according to a court document seen by Bloomberg. A spokesperson for GFG declined to comment on the matter, while officials at AIP didn’t return calls and emails seeking comment.
AIP is the main lender to the Duffel plant and pushed the company into administration in the U.K. earlier this month as the loan is in default, according to people familiar with the matter who asked not to be named because they’re not authorized to speak publicly.
The move is the latest twist in a long-running saga between Gupta and his lenders. His metal group GFG Alliance is facing creditors from Australia to the U.K. to refinance $5 billion of credit lines that came from now-collapsed Greensill Capital, while seeking to keep the assets.
The tussle for the assets has also wrought divisions in Gupta’s own camp. The industrialist has fallen out with Jay Hambro, one of his top lieutenants, after Hambro backed AIP’s bid, Bloomberg reported earlier. Hambro ceased to be a director of Duffel on July 5, according to a company filing.
Duffel’s parent company, a U.K.-registered entity, was put in administration in July 7, with two restructuring partners of FRP Advisory being appointed as administrators by the U.K. High Court of Justice, according to public records. Gupta, which in the court case used his address in Dubai, challenged the decision that removed him as sole director of the company in a Belgian court.
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