IBC: 3 Month Silence, No Diligence And Late Bid - Resolution Professional On Liberty House
The resolution professional in charge of Bhushan Power & Steel Ltd.’s insolvency process detailed in court the erratic approach bidder Liberty House has had whilst bidding for the company. The lawyer for the resolution professional said Liberty House went silent mid-process for three months and did no diligence of the Bhushan facilities before submitting the bid.
“We got (caught) wrong footed” is how Liberty House’s Executive Chairman Sanjeev Gupta explained the late bid in an earlier interview with BloombergQuint. When rejected, the U.K.-based industrial and metals group moved the National Company Law Tribunal.
In today’s hearing, the lawyer for the resolution professional described Liberty House’s efforts to participate. He said at first there was no submission of key documents by the U.K.-based company before Oct.6, 2017, the cut-off date for such submissions. The resolution profession first heard from Liberty House on Nov. 13 when the company said it was interested in participating in the process. While it submitted certain documents, eligibility papers and the requisite certificate signed by a chartered accountant were missing, said the lawyer.
Between Nov. 18 and Feb 13, despite repeated reminders by the resolution professional Liberty House did not communicate the necessary information. The lawyer described it as “radio silence”.
Not did Liberty House at any point challenge the resolution professional’s right to ask for documents or set deadlines. A visit to the Bhushan facilities was offered but not undertaken.
On the pre-announced deadline of Feb. 8, two bids, from JSW Steel Ltd and Tata Steel Ltd, were received and opened. Five days later Liberty House indicated to the resolution professional that it intended to submit a bid and did so on Feb. 20.
Liberty House’s argument, as expressed in the earlier interview with its chairman, is that its bid is superior and hence deserves a chance.
The point is that we were outside of the deadline, but we bid before the bids were opened. Our bid, we believe, is superior, so we’re asking the court to clarify whether the creditors and stakeholders have the right to get a better outcome, or technicalities of the process prevail.Sanjeev Gupta, Executive Chairman, Liberty House Group