Nippon Steel announced on Friday that the joint bid with ArcelorMittal SA has been chosen by the creditors’ panel of debt- ridden Essar Steel declaring them as the winning bidders.

While ArcelorMittal will hold a majority stake, Nippon Steel will own close to equal stake according to a Nippon’s spokesman who confirmed that the total amount to be paid for the purchase of Essar Steel by both the companies will be $5.7 billion.

He further informed that after the approval of Indian National Company Law Tribunal and other concerned authorities, the acquisition will be implemented.

After a year long tussle over the much coveted assets under the new insolvency process in India amongst Indian steelmakers including JSW Steel and Vedanta Ltd and international companies such as ArcelorMittal and Russia’s VTB; the announcement has effectively brought an end to the competition.

The Ruia family- Essar’s founders have been trying to hold on to the steel asset and to exit the bankruptcy process. Their first attempt was through a minority stake in VTB- led consortium Numetal which bid for Essar. The most recent attempt has been through an independent offer placed on Thursday to pay $7.4 billion to creditors to settle claims.

Supreme Court’s order for bidders such as Numetal and ArcelorMittal to first settle all pending dues tied to any distressed assets they are linked to before bidding was met by ArcelorMittal which it announced last week, informing that it had cleared dues of Uttam Galva and KSS Petron along with two smaller defaulters.

ArcelorMittal said on Tuesday that they expect that the process will continue as per the clear terms of Indian Bankruptcy Code.

Last year, in Central Bank’s attempt to clear a $147 billion mountain of bad load, a dozen of India’s biggest debt defaulters were pushed to bankruptcy including Essar Steel, a 10 million tone steel plant based in the western region of Gujarat. Based on Indian Government Data’s reports, the creditors, banks and suppliers of Essar Steel have staked claims of $7.9 billion from Essar Steel.

Comments from ArcelorMittal and Essar Steel were not available.


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