Adani Group gets the nod to bid for Dighi port

Lenders preferred Adani’s offer to Dighi Port promoter Balaji Infra Projects which had offered to settle the creditors dues outside the NCLT.

BCCL
Adani Ports shares rose 8 per cent to end at Rs 412 a piece on Monday.
A lenders’ panel approved the resolution plan of Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Ltd (APSEZ) to buy the debt-laden Dighi Port under the bankruptcy law, paving the way for billionaire Gautam Adani to add to a string of acquisitions this year.

More than 99 per cent of the votes of the committee of the creditors were in favour of Adani Ports, according to people aware of the matter, giving the company overwhelming backing for buying the $13 billion company and marking its entry into the lucrative state of Maharashtra with its 11th port in the country.

Adani Ports’ bid, at Rs 650 crore, was at a 78 per cent haircut to the Rs 3,075 crore Dighi Port owed lenders, said one person, who did not wish to be identified. The 16-member lending consortium was led by the Bank of India and included the erstwhile Vijaya Bank and Central Bank of India.


Adani Ports shares rose 8.13 per cent from the previous close on the Bombay Stock Exchange to end the trading session at Rs 411.50 apiece on Monday.

The selection of Adani Ports as the winning bidder also spelt relief for the lenders, who had earlier seen the winning bidder, Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT), walk away.

The development comes less than three months after the Adani Group snapped up GMR Chhattisgarh Energy’s 1,370 MW plant for an enterprise value of Rs 4,792 crore outside the insolvency process, and months after the group won the rights to run six airports across the country earlier this year.
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“The Mumbai NCLT (National Company Law Tribunal) has yet to approve it, but we do not expect any more hic-ups. As things stand right now we expect this case to be resolved with the money coming in by the end of October,” said a senior public sector bank official, who did not wish to be identified.

The next hearing in the Mumbai NCLT has been set for October 10.

Lenders preferred Adani Ports’ offer to that of the erstwhile Dighi Port promoter, Vijay Kalantri’s Balaji Infra Projects Ltd (BIPL), which had offered to settle the creditors’ dues outside the NCLT. “We had given the promoters a chance to come up with an offer and they had to make a 20 per cent upfront payment to demonstrate their seriousness, which they failed to do. The promoters have already been declared defaulters by some banks so no lender wants to give them a chance,” said the banker cited earlier.

Lenders have to file an affidavit with the NCLAT on why it rejected the promoter’s offer. The hearing in the NCLAT is slated for October 16.
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Beleaguered Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services Limited and Maharashtra Maritime Board are also stakeholders in Dighi Port, which is being built under a 50-year build, own, operate, share, transfer model
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