UltraTech sweetens Binani bid, alleges undue preference for Dalmia-Bain

UltraTech Cement Ltd has increased its bid for Binani Cement Ltd through an email to the resolution professional overseeing the company's bankruptcy proceedings as it tries to beat a consortium backed by Bain Capital which is in the lead.

The company has raised its offer to about Rs6,600 crore ($1 billion) from about Rs6,200 crore earlier, chief financial officer Atul Daga said in an interview with Bloomberg on Wednesday.

UltraTech, part of the Aditya Birla Group controlled by Kumar Mangalam Birla, is competing with the consortium led by Dalmia Bharat Ltd, which has been chosen as the highest bidder. Vijaykumar Iyer of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu India LLP is the resolution professional overseeing the bidding.

''We are not happy with the way the process has been dealt with,'' Daga said. ''It's not transparent and equitable. Especially when there was only a marginal difference in both the bids, the lenders should have called both the bidders to maximise the value.''

UltraTech, India's biggest cement maker, has approached the National Company Law Tribunal with its plaint and the matter will be heard on 19 March, he said.

Dalmia Bharat had put in a bid of about Rs6,350 crore, people familiar with the matter said last month. The consortium's proposal included offering an approximatly 20-per cent stake in Binani Cement to its lenders, the people said. Dalmia Bharat made a joint offer with India Resurgence Fund, which is backed by Bain Capital Credit and local conglomerate Piramal Enterprises Ltd, the people said.

UltraTech's earlier offer would rise to about 72 billion once working capital is included, Daga said. ''Our resolution plan is balanced,'' he said. ''We are also paying the trade creditors.''

UltraTech is also unhappy that past industry issues with India's competition commission were considered when scoring the bids, Daga said. The company has made two acquisitions since 2012 and both have been approved by the commission, he said.

Last week, UltraTech had served notice to the resolution professional asking for bidding details, Business Standard reported, citing unnamed sources.

Binani has secured lenders of about Rs4,000 crore and unsecured lenders of about Rs2,500 crore.