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Vedanta Group gets bankers\' nod to buy 13 Videocon companies
Anil Agarwal

Billionaire businessman Anil Agarwal's family firm got bankers’ approval on Wednesday to acquire 13 companies of insolvent consumer appliances maker Videocon Industries.

The plan was approved by the State Bank of India (SBI)-led consortium of bankers under the corporate insolvency resolution process (CIRP) that began two years ago.

The price offered by Twin Star Technologies, promoted by the family of Agarwal who leads the Vedanta group, was not disclosed.

Videocon Industries holds 25% stake in the Ravva oil field, in which Vedanta, through Cairn India, holds 22.5% shareholding. The acquisition may help Vedanta pick up additional stake in the oil field.

The approved plan to acquire the Venugopal Dhoot-led firm has now been filed before the Mumbai bench of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) for further approval.

In September, VCCircle reported that the stressed company had received 11 offers including from Ravi Chachra-led distressed assets investor Eight Capital Advisory Services Pvt. Ltd, Kotak group’s private equity arm Kotak Investment Advisors Ltd and real estate-focussed PE firm Cerestra Advisors Pvt. Ltd.

Among other applicants who bid were Mumbai-listed Dixon Technologies (India) Ltd, Delhi-based Avanti Investfin Pvt. Ltd -- family-owned firm of Akhil Gupta, vice-chairman of Bharti Enterprises –, Minicon Insulated Wires LLP and V Shape Investment Management Ltd.

Videocon Industries’ admitted claims stand at around Rs 61,773 crore to its financial creditors and Rs 3,165 crore towards operational creditors. It was in the Reserve Bank of India’s first list of the top 12 corporate defaulters referred for bankruptcy in late 2017.

It was first admitted to bankruptcy in mid-2018. In August last year, the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) consolidated the resolution processes for all 13 Videocon companies operating under business verticals such as consumer electronics and home appliances, oil and gas, real estate and retail and telecommunications. The 180-day deadline to complete the resolution was to end on February 4 but got extension owing to the Covid-19 pandemic-led lockdown.

The 13 group firms under insolvency are: Videocon Industries, Videocon Telecommunications, Evans Fraser & Co. (India), Millennium Appliances India, Applicomp India, Electroworld Digital Solutions, Techno Kart India, Century Appliances, Techno Electronics, Value Industries, PE Electronics, CE India and Sky Appliances.

Till recently, the Dhoot family had offered to pay Rs 33,000 crore to lenders to settle their outstanding loans and pull out 13 Videocon group companies from the insolvency proceedings.

The proposal was previously agreed upon by the bankers through the Joint Lenders Forum in November 2017. However, this was rejected by the RBI, which subsequently decided to send the company to the NCLT for debt resolution in December 2017.

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