Binani bankruptcy process not transparent, alleges UltraTech

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MUMBAI: India’s largest cement maker UltraTechBSE -3.38% has argued that the bankruptcy resolution process at Binani CementBSE 0.06% “was wrapped in secrecy” even when the lender panel of the indebted manufacturer voted in favor of an offer of Dalmia Bharat consortium

UltraTech has filed a petition with the NCLT on Friday, seeking cancellation of the lenders’ vote in favor of the resolution offer directed by Dalmia.

Friday’s request is in addition to another request from UltraTech already pending before the court. The company has also said that it will not hesitate to move even to the Supreme Court if its requests are not heard.

“The Aditya Birla Group is not going to lie,” Atul Daga, UltraTech’s CFO, told ET in an interview. The hearing will be held on March 19. The resolution professional has also been asked to appear in person for the hearing.

Daga alleged that the process was not transparent and that bidders were not allowed to participate in the meetings.

Another aspect that could have reduced UltraTech’s score on the qualitative front was the possibility that it could not obtain authorization from the Competition Commission due to its potentially dominant position in the markets of Rajasthan, Haryana and Gujarat where Binani sold its production.

Daga also alleged that the work of evaluating bidders on the parameter of a potential monopoly position was made incorrectly by the exchange management firm Alvarez & Marsal.

“Unless I’m an expert on 0.00% of CCIBSE, I do not think any agency can do evaluations for ITC matters,” Daga said.

With multiple players already existing in the markets of Rajasthan-Gujarat, UltraTech posed no threat to emerge as an almost monopoly in the relevant markets.

Ultratech had increased its offer in Rs 700 crore earlier after the lenders told for the first time that they would allow Dalmia to acquire Binani. With a new offer of Rs 7,266 crore versus its previous offer of Rs 6.5 billion rupees, UltraTech had promised to pay unsecured lenders, including commercial creditors, all their installments.

“If they do not pay anything to the MSMEs, they will also go to the NCLT since they will go bankrupt,” Daga said. He wondered why the lenders did not take into account the increased offers when the principle of IBC is to maximize value for all interested parties.

Daga clarified that his fight was not against Dalmia, but to guarantee fair play.