Dalmia, UltraTech battle it out in NCLT

The continuing drama over selection of rightful bidder for Binani Cement is expected to unfold more surprises in the coming days, as the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) on Thursday did not approve Dalmia Bharat’s claim over the defaulting entity. The bankruptcy tribunal decided to meet again on March 27 to consider the matter and hear out both Dalmia Bharat and UltraTech Cement. The two companies are engaged in a bitter battle to take control of bankrupt Binani Cement.

While Dalmia Bharat’s resolution plan has been approved by lenders and forwarded to NCLT for final approval, UltraTech, which lost out in the bidding process, has added fresh twist to the ongoing takeover battle by making a higher counter offer to Binani outside the insolvency proceedings.

“NCLT has been loaded with voluminous affidavits by all the parties in the case. This has prevented a final approval on resolution proposals for Binani. All affidavits would be heard again on March 27, only then a view would emerge how to take the process further,” said a member of the legal team of one of the suitors for Binani on condition of anonymity.

Binani has submitted an affidavit about the understanding that its parent company had with UltraTech for buying its equity and allegations about fraudulent deals. It has also questioned lower valuation for the cement company. UltraTech affidavit talks about why it is the rightful candidate to take over Binani and why CoC is at fault while selecting Dalmia Bharat. Dalmia, meanwhile, has listed several reasons in its affidavit why it believes rival bidder UltraTech Cement is creating hurdles in the insolvency process and why as per natural justice the company is rightful candidate to get control of Binani. The Dalmia affidavit has also highlighted how the alternate deal is an effort to delay resolution process that is mandated to complete in 270 days. Sources said the odds certainly seem to be against Dalmia Bharat. But if it is able acquire Binani, it would be a rare hat-trick when it comes to snapping up stressed assets.
 It has already acquired Murli Cement and Kalyanpur Cement.

In a fresh twist to the ongoing takeover battle for Binani Cement, Kumar Mangalam Birla-led UltraTech Cement on Monday made a counter offer for Binani Cement offering Rs 7,266 crore to its parent company. It said that offer is subject to termination of IBC proceedings, entering into definitive agreement and other customary and regulatory approvals.

UltraTech’s offer came just days after rival Dalmia Cement announced that its Rs 6,350 crore bid to buy Binani Cements Ltd (BCL) has been accepted by the lenders. Besides offering Rs 6,350 crore, Dalmia had also offered 20 per cent equity in Binani to the lenders.

The UltraTech’s offer for Binani came after the AV Group company reportedly filed up to three applications at the NCLT questioning the evaluation criteria used to determine the winning bid. It also alleged circumvention of its objections. The third application filed by UltraTech was to quash the resolution process on basis the first two applications.

Subhash Narayan