Baba Ramdev-led Patanjali Ayurved has placed a ₹9,000-crore bid to acquire the debt-ridden Ruchi Soya Industries Ltd (RSIL) through the ongoing insolvency process under the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT).

Over 26 companies have expressed interest in acquiring India’s largest edible oil maker. The bid placed by Patanjali could be the highest, according to sources close to the development.

“At over ₹9,000 crore, Patanjali’s bid could be one of the highest bids, even though all the bids are yet to be officially opened,” said a source. Among the assets going through the insolvency process under NCLT, Ruchi Soya has attracted interest from the maximum number of companies. The company expects the process to be completed by June 13, another source said.

The short-listing is expected to start this week, while an announcement is expected in 7-10 days, though a decision may take up to May 15.

When contacted, a spokesperson for Patanjali confirmed that the company is interested in the deal, but declined to divulge the details of the bid. A Ruchi Soya spokesperson also declined to comment.

Patanjali was earlier a distributor of Ruchi Soya’s products.

Other bidders

The others in the race for Ruchi Soya include ITC, Emami, Godrej Agrovet, Sakuma Exports, Phoenix ARC, AION Capital Partners, 3F Oil Palm Agrotech, Singapore-based palm oil firm Musim Mas, global investment firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, the Indian subsidiary of US-based Cargill Corp, Singaporean palm oil company Golden-Agri Resources and Malaysia’s Sime Darby Bhd.

None of the bidders could be immediately contacted for comments.

Ruchi Soya is the largest edible oilseed extraction and refining company in India, with a 3.72 mtpa capacity. It is also the largest player in the cooking oil and soya foods category in the country.

The company’s debt stood at about ₹12,000 crore as of December 31, 2017.

Brand portfolio

Its brand portfolio includes Nutrela, Mahakosh, Sunrich, Ruchi Gold and Ruchi Star. In December 2017, the NCLT’s Mumbai bench admitted Ruchi Soya’s insolvency resolution process under the IBC, following petitions by Standard Chartered Bank and DBS Bank.

Last year, Ruchi Soya announced a 51 per cent stake sale to private equity major Devonshire Capital for about ₹4,000 crore. However, with the NCLT admitting the case, the deal was deemed null and void.