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Essar Steel case: SC sets aside NCLAT order, paves way for takeover by ArcelorMittal

Essar Steel case: The court stated that the NCLAT cannot interfere with the committee of creditors' commercial decisions

twitter-logo BusinessToday.In   New Delhi     Last Updated: November 15, 2019  | 13:23 IST
Essar Steel case: SC sets aside NCLAT order, paves way for takeover by ArcelorMittal
Essar Steel case: SC order lifts stay on ArcelorMittal's acquisition of the company

The Supreme Court quashed a National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) order paving the way for ArcelorMittal's Rs 42,000-crore acquisition of the debt-laden Essar Steel. The acquisition of the steel company would now take place as per the resolution plan of ArcelorMittal.

A bench headed by Justice RF Nariman quashed the NCLAT order that had given financial creditors equal status with operational creditors in the distribution of ArcelorMittal's bid amount. The Supreme Court bench clarified that financial creditors enjoy primacy and the adjudicating authority cannot interfere with the decision approved by the committee of creditors. The committee of creditors consists of banks.

The court stated that the NCLAT cannot interfere with the committee of creditors' commercial decisions. It added that the tribunal can send the plan back to the committee in case it finds that legal parameters are not met but it cannot tinker with the plan.

In its order, the NCLAT had stated that the funds from the winning bid must be distributed equally between operational and financial creditors. The issue snowballed to a legal tussle between financial institutions and the company's operational creditors who said that ArcelorMittal's winning bid was not enough to meet their dues.

The Supreme Court also relaxed the timeline of 330 days to find a resolution plan as prescribed under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code.

Essar Steel owes around Rs 49,000 crore to a host of banks including State Bank of India (highest exposure of over Rs 15,000 crore), ICICI Bank, Syndicate Bank and IDBI Bank.

Also read: What happened to the two-year old NPA cases amounting to Rs 3.45 lakh crore?

Also read: ArcelorMittal to shut Saldanha plant in South Africa, 1,000 workers to be affected

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