The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) has granted three weeks' time to the promoters of debt-ridden Dighi Port Ltd to negotiate with the company's financial creditors to settle their claims.
This comes weeks after the state-owned Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) withdrew its bid on July 2 to buy the private port after an insolvency court suggested modifications in its offer.
A three-member NCLAT bench headed by Chairman Justice S J Mukhopadhaya has now allowed Dighi Port Director Vishal Vijay Kalantri and other promoters to negotiate with the Committee of Creditors (CoC) and operational creditors to bring the company out of insolvency proceedings.
On July 4, in an exclusive interview with VCCircle, Vijay Kalantri, chairman and managing director at Dighi Port, said he has again offered a one-time settlement of about Rs 800 crore to the lenders.
Six days later, NCLAT had said it will not pass any order pertaining to liquidation until its further orders.
In its order passed on July 24, the appellate tribunal said, “We allow the Appellant Director Vishal Vijay Kalantri and other promoters of Dighi Port Ltd (Corporate Debtor) three weeks time to state as to whether the financial creditors have agreed to settle the claim."
“If such proposal is made, financial creditors and operational creditors, if any, may consider the same,” it further said.
The appellate tribunal has directed to list the matter for next hearing on August 21.
NCLAT, on an appeal by Dighi Port’s promoters, has given an order to JNPT to ensure that the firm is not liquidated. Separately, the Committee of Creditors (CoC) of Dighi Port has asked for the NCLT’s permission to look at other bids including that of Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Ltd.
Earlier, the lenders had rejected the resolution plan filed by Adani Ports and approved JNPT bid.
Dighi Port, promoted by Balaji Infra Projects Ltd and IL&FS Ltd, operates on the banks of Rajpuri creek in Maharashtra’s Raigad district.
It owed Rs 3,098.45 crore as on March 15 to a consortium of 16 banks and operational creditors led by Bank of India. The company was dragged to bankruptcy court in April last year.
A Mumbai bench of the NCLT allowed recovery plea by DBM Geotechnics and Constructions Pvt Ltd, one of the port's operational creditor for non-payment of construction of multi-purpose berth on March 25, 2018.