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Uncertainty continues over Adhunik Metaliks: Liberty again seeks additional time for upfront payment, lenders don’t agree

Mithun Dasgupta
nclt, liberty

Uncertainty continues over the fate of bankrupt Adhunik Metaliks (AML). Stating non-receipt of requisite regulatory approvals, UK-based Liberty House has not paid the required upfront cash payment of Rs 410 crore to the lenders by Sunday, the stipulated deadline set by the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT), for the acquisition of debt-ridden AML.

With Sanjeev Gupta-led Liberty House Group once again seeking additional one week’s time for making the payment, lenders to the debt-ridden steel manufacturing company have rejected this proposal. Notably, the NCLAT had given LHG time till this Sunday to pay Rs 410 crore upfront payment to the lenders for acquisition of the company under the Corporate Insolvency Resolution Process (CIRP).

“We have not received the upfront cash payment from Liberty House till Sunday. Earlier this week they further sought additional time for making the payment. But we did not agree,” an official of SBI told FE on condition of anonymity.

Lenders to AML are SBI, Punjab National Bank, ICICI Bank, IFCI, Punjab & Sind Bank, UCO Bank, Allahabad Bank, Bank of Baroda, Corporation Bank and SREI Infrastructure Finance, among others. The Kolkata bench of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) had in July last year approved the resolution plan submitted by Liberty House, with lenders agreeing to take a haircut of around 92% and settling for Rs 410 crore against their outstanding dues of Rs 5,370 crore.

When contacted on the non-payment of the upfront cash payment within the deadline, a Liberty House spokesperson said, “We are working on procuring statutory and regulatory approvals which are a vital part of the implementation plan.” She said regulatory approvals from the stock exchanges are still pending for Adhunik Metaliks in order to receive money under CIRP from the UK-based group.

“To accept the CIRP amount by way of equity, first of all Adhunik Metaliks needed to open an account, which has been done. We informed NSE and BSE for the regulatory approvals after the meeting of the monitoring committee. Now, in principle approvals are required from the stock exchanges. AML has not got those approvals yet, it is pending,” she said, adding within a week’s time Liberty was planning to pay the entire money to the lenders. “We are likely to appeal before the Cuttack Bench of the NCLT tomorrow (Monday) to seek additional time,” she added.

But, lenders seem to be in no mood to accept further delay in payment. “We may appeal before the Cuttack Bench of the NCLT for the re-initiation of the CIRP process as many companies have shown interest in AML,” the SBI official said.

Earlier, there were only two resolution applicants for the debt-ridden steel manufacturing company Liberty House and Maharashtra Seamless of the DP Jindal Group. Liberty House was identified as the highest bidder (H1) by the creditors, while the plan of Maharashtra Seamless was rejected as it was offering less value than the liquidation value of the company.