UK-based Boustead Plc has emerged as the second company interested in bidding for the debt-ridden RTIL (formerly Reid & Taylor (India) Ltd). Earlier, Hong Kong-based SPGP Holdings (HK) Ltd had evinced interest to acquire the firm.

Boustead had earlier informed the Interim Resolution Professional (IRP) of its intention to bid for the bankrupt firm, who, in turn, had communicated the matter to the Mumbai bench of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT). The UK-based investor was to submit a resolution plan after the end of the holiday period, sources, privy to the development, told BusinessLine.

The tribunal had also directed the IRP to “maintain regular contact” with the new investor and exchange necessary details as under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC). This is if the investor satisfies eligibility criteria. BusinessLine had reported on January 4 that the UK-based investor had evinced interest but the name of the bidder was not disclosed.

At the NCLT hearing on Thursday, the IRP informed the bench that the UK investor’s interest was “conditional” as it was interested in plant and machinery of the Indian firm. Further, it wanted to transfer the existing operations to Sri Lanka and did not wish to give a composite resolution plan as required under the IBC.

The IRP also informed the tribunal that it received financial documents from SPGP Holdings on January 10. The tribunal has fixed January 14 as the next date for hearing. The lenders to RTIL are Finquest Financial Solution, Union Bank of India, Punjab National Bank, IL&FS Financial Services, IDBI Bank and L&T Finance. Edelweiss Asset reconstruction Company Ltd had earlier dragged RTIL to the NCLT, with the tribunal admitting the case under IBC in April 2018.

Earlier, nearly 200 employees of RTIL had formed an AOP to scout for potential investors, revive the company and prevent liquidation with no major investors evincing interest.

RTIL, a premium clothing provider that sells under the international brand ‘Reid & Taylor’ in India, is struggling to pay off its ₹3,800-crore debt. It still runs a factory with about 30-40 per cent production capacity in Mysuru, and employs about 1,200 personnel and another 200-250 contract labourers. It also has about 1,000-1,500 dealers across the country.

Its apparel range of Reid & Taylor was earlier endorsed by actors Amitabh Bachchan and Pierce Brosnan.