Don’t buy Essar Steel, SC tells ArcelorMittal

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New Delhi, April 13

The Supreme Court today restrained steel manufacturing giant ArcelorMittal from acquiring Essar Steel India and ordered status quo on the March 8 order of the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) approving Arcelor’s bid for Essar.

The Arcelor’s acquisition of Essar would have allowed Arcelor owner Lakshmi Mittal to begin its operations in the Indian steel market.

The tribunal had given its approval to the resolution plan offered by ArcelorMittal for the acquisition of Essar Steel.

The Committee of Creditors (CoC), however, moved the apex court opposing higher payment to Standard Chartered Bank (SCB).

After the Friday’s order, ArcelorMittal cannot make payments to the lenders to buy Essar Steel.

A Bench headed by Justice Rohinton F Nariman directed the NCLAT to expeditiously decide on appeals in the case.

As per the tribunal order, SCB was allotted only 1.7% of its total admitted claims, while the financial creditors were recovering their claims close to 92%.

The NCLAT had directed that the distribution should be done on a pro-rata basis, and SCB should be awarded its share accordingly.

The apex court order is bound to delay Mittal’s plan to buy the steel mill, which can produce 10 million metric tonne annually.

Post the acquisition, Arcelor will become the fourth-biggest player in the country. It plans to invest trillions of rupees in its infrastructure.

The NCLAT had approved Arcelor’s and Nippon Steel Corp offer to pay $6 billion to lenders and then invest about another $1.1 billion in the company.

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