JSW, Tata Steel vie for Bhushan Steel as Singapore fund backs employees' offer

JSW Steel, Tata Steel and the employees of Bhushan Steel, possibly backed by a Singapore-based fund, have submitted bids for debt-laden Bhushan Steel as binding bids closed on Saturday.

ArcelorMittal, which was earlier seen as the front-runner for Bhushan steel, said it had not put in a bid for the company.

JSW had last week claimed that the L N Mittal-led company had made a bid after the bid deadline of 6 pm on Saturday, leading to high drama over the weekend in the race for Bhushan Steel.

However, an ArcelorMittal spokesperson said, ''ArcelorMittal can confirm it has not bid for Bhushan Steel, but we remain interested at looking at future opportunities in India.''

A JSW Steel spokesperson had even threatened legal action if Mittal's offer was allowed after the deadline. A legal team from JSW headquarters was flown to New Delhi on Saturday night to take action, if necessary.

Bhushan Steel, which had accumulated debt of over Rs50,000 crore, was put under bankruptcy process for debt resolution under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code after it failed to repay Rs44,000 crore debt.

The bids were submitted on Saturday at the Gurgaon office of Deloitte, whose Vijaykumar V Iyer is the IRP (insolvency resolution professional) for Bhushan Steel.

Besides ArcelorMittal, UK-based Liberty House and Steel Authority of India, who had earlier submitted expressions of interest, also did not submit bids in the final round.

While the exact bid amounts couldn't be ascertained, reports said, it could be around the Rs28,000-30,000 crore mark. That is nearly twice the liquidation value of Rs15,000 crore. Industry officials say JSW Steel might be ahead in the race.

About 400 of Bhushan Steel employees have also put up a bid for the bebt-ridden steel maker, reports quoting a senior official from the company said. The report also said while the employees have the backing of a Singapore-based fund, the identity of the fund couldn't be ascertained.

Bhushan Steel has a steel facility and mining lease in Odisha.

The bids will now be opened on Tuesday.