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Balaji Infra submits offer to settle dues of Dighi Port lenders

      08/08/2019

Balaji Infra Projects Ltd, the majority promoter of Dighi Port Ltd, has submitted a proposal to a clutch of lenders to clear their dues after the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) allowed time till August 21 for financial creditors to “consider” such a proposal before deciding on a batch of appeals filed by various parties in the resolution process of the debt-laden port.

“The settlement plan submitted by Balaji Infra Projects includes payment of ?660 crore to a consortium of 18 banks led by Bank of India and 11.38 crores of statutory dues to the Maharashtra Maritime Board (MMB),” Vijay Kalantri, chairman and managing director, Balaji Infra Projects told BusinessLine. “The other terms and conditions will be similar to the ones submitted by the other resolution applicants,” he added.

Along with interest and penal interest, the lenders dues are now estimated at 3,074.51 crore.

The settlement offer is slightly higher Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust’s (JNPT) offer, approved by the Committee of Creditors (CoC) in February with some conditions/modifications. Subsequently, JNPT told the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) that the modifications suggested by the Tribunal were “not acceptable” to it.

In its resolution plans, JNPT had offered to pay 651.12 crore to the financial creditors, a 72.2 per cent hair cut to the 3,074.51 crore that Dighi owes them. JNPT will further invest 190.78 crore as equity to improve the operations of Dighi Port and also pay 11.38 crore to Maharashtra Maritime Board.

The Resolution Plan of JNPT, according to NCLT, was more than 85 per cent of the average liquidation value of 356.30 crore and was also higher than the average fair value of 656.08 crore worked out by two registered valuers.

On July 24, NCLAT allowed the port promoters to explore the possibility of settling the claim of financial creditors. “If such proposal is made, the committee of creditors/financial creditors and other operational creditors, if any, may consider the same,” NCLAT wrote in the July 24 order.

During the hearing, the NCLAT was informed that the claim of DBM Geotechnics and Constructions Pvt Ltd – an operational creditor- at whose behest the port company was taken to NCLT, has “not been admitted” because it had not completed the work entrusted to it by Dighi Port Ltd. This has put a question mark on the resolution process of Dighi Port.

Balaji Infra Projects told NCLAT on July 24 that if the 2018 order of NCLT to “admit” and “initiate” the corporate insolvency resolution process of Dighi Port was set aside in view of this, “it may reach one-time settlement with the financial creditors”.

Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Ltd (APSEZ) had approached NCLAT challenging the decision of the lenders panel to reject its resolution plan and instead prefer the one submitted by JNPT which was 1 crore lesser than APSEZ.