Snaefell Heights LLP, the applicant which has challenged the rebid of Gontermann-Peipers (India) Ltd, has now proposed to revive the forge roll maker in an attempt to allay an apprehension that the firm is only looking at the asset for real estate.
The claim has been made in an application before the Supreme Court which is likely to hear the matter for admission on Monday. The LLP firm now also claims that it is an equal partnership between city-based Srijan Realty and Shakambhari Group, a Bengal-based secondary steel producer, which is said to have revived many sick steel units.
The rebid for GPIL was ordered by the National Company Law Tribunal, Calcutta, and then reaffirmed by the NCLAT, Delhi — favouring other aspirants, notably India’s largest steel maker JSW Steel Ltd, which has publicly made its intention clear to retain the manufacturing unit, revive it and save jobs.
After failing to clinch an acceptable resolution plan under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), GPIL was sent to liquidation for the sale of assets as a going concern. The LLP emerged the highest bidder with an offer of Rs 88 crore in an auction that took place in September 2021.
However, multiple companies, including JSW Steel, litigated before the company law tribunals, which ordered a fresh bid, queering the pitch for Snaefell. The date for the fresh auction has been set on November 11, subject to the direction of the SC.
Deepak Agarwal, chairman and managing director of Shakambhari Group, said the LLP’s plea is not to allow a rebid that will make the firm the successful bidder. If the court allows a rebid, the entire Rs 88 crore deposited by the LLP should be returned with interest.
“We want to revive the plant. It has a very good prospect as GPI’s product forge steel roll is in demand. There is also a skilled workforce attached to the unit,” Agarwal said.
He denied that there is any plan for real estate development on the 25.35-acre plot. Ram Naresh Agarwal, an owner of Srijan and a designated partner of Snaefell, said the family wants to expand their business horizons beyond real estate.
“We want to diversify into other areas to create opportunities for the new generation of our family joining the business,” R.N. Agarwal added. He, however, did not rule out carving out a slice of the lucrative plot on the Diamond Harbour Road in the future, after allocating space for future expansion of the roll factory.
“But, we are not thinking about it (real estate) now,” R.N. Agarwal claimed, adding the LLP will also participate in the rebid if directed by the SC.
Before the NCLAT, Snaefellhad maintained that the capability of the highest bidder(H1) to run the plant does not matter.
“In a liquidation sale, the capability of H1 to run or not to run the unit as a going concern can never be subject to an assessment,” the application said, but disclosed that it has entered into a partnership with Shakambhari Group.
Before the SC, the application adds: “It is submitted that the appellant has always been ready and willing to run the corporate debtor.”
A section of the workmen alleged Snaefell is trying to create a perception to run the plant even though its does not match up with JSW. “They will sell the plant as scrap and build real estate on the land,” they added.