Indian court rejects plea against ArcelorMittal’s bid for Essar Steel

Aerial view of blast furnace at Essar Steel in Hazira, Gujarat. Visual: Mint

An Indian court rejected on Thursday a petition challenging ArcelorMittal SA’s proposed takeover of debt-ridden Essar Steel, removing a hurdle in billionaire Lakshmi Mittal’s entry into the country’s fast-growing steel market.

The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) said that the Supreme Court had already cleared the takeover bid and therefore it could not consider the appeal by Essar’s founders Shashi Ruia and Ravi Ruia, lawyer Ravin Kapur said.

Kapur’s law firm, Phoenix Legal, is representing some of the lenders to Essar Steel, one of 12 large steel and other infrastructure companies which defaulted and were referred to India’s bankruptcy court in 2017.

“The judge said the Ruia plea has to be rejected for various reasons including that it suffered from unreasonable delays,” Kapur said.

The Essar Steel case has dragged on for about 700 days and has seen global and local steel firms locking horns to grab Essar’s assets.

In April, the Supreme Court asked ArcelorMittal to halt payments to Essar Steel’s lenders until various appeals were disposed of in the courts.

ArcelorMittal has been trying to enter India’s steel market, which is dominated by local companies, for over a decade but bureaucratic hassles and land acquisition woes stifled its bids.

“We note today’s ruling by the NCLAT. We need to review the full written order to understand any implications on completion of the transaction,” ArcelorMittal said in an emailed statement.

An Essar spokesman said the firm would consider the latest court order.

“We are awaiting the detailed order and will decide our course of action thereafter,” the spokesman said.

Reuters

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.