JNPT, Adani Ports, Veritas shortlisted to run Dighi Port

      01/10/2019

Three companies have been shortlisted to run the Dighi Port, which has run into debts.

A meeting was held on Wednesday evening at the Maharashtra Maritime Board (MMB) office to discuss the first three companies that have bid for the port.

Amongst them are Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT), Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone (APSEZ) and the consortium of Veritas group.

Sources in MMB said that JNPT has bid for around Rs 600 crore and tops the list. While Adani and Veritas are the second and third highest bidders, respectively.

Deputy Chairperson of JNPT Neeraj Bansal said, “Yes, we have bid. The resolution professional has not disclosed our amount.’’

Adani Ports spokesperson refused to comment. Veritas group could not be contacted for comment.

These companies submitted bids for debt-laden Dighi Port Ltd, which has been put up for sale under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Act.

The Veritas consortium has companies like of Veritas (India) Limited, Veritas Infra & Logistic Pvt Ltd and Veritas Polychem Pvt Ltd. All three have plans for Dighi Port Ltd that runs a greenfield port on the banks of Rajpuri creek in Raigad district.

The deadline for filing debt resolution plans for Dighi Port ended on Thursday. However, details of the resolution plans submitted by the three groups are not yet available. Dighi Port owes Rs 2,601.73 crore to a consportium of 16 lenders led by Bank of India.

A JNPT officer said that since their port is close to Dighi, the acquisition will help expand operations.

For Adani, a port in Maharashtra would be an addition and help it have a presence in the state.

It is the first instance of a port (JNPT), owned by the Central government, looking to acquire a private port under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC). JNPT has also bid for the Air India building. JNPT plans to become a complex hub for three ports nearby and bring cargo from those places through waterways.

The minimum deposit for the bid participants is over Rs 2,100 crore, while Dighi is only worth around Rs 800 crore.

Vijay Kalantri, who runs the Dighi Port, said, “The matter is in the NCLT (National Company Law Tribunal). My appeal will come up for hearing this month. These are expressions of interest received. It is operational closure, not a financial closure for Dighi Port.’’