UK’s Liberty House in the market to buy stressed infrastructure, energy assets

SURESH P IYENGAR KRAMKUMAR Mumbai | Updated on January 09, 2018

Appoints advisor to scout for M&A opportunities in steel and power sectors

Liberty House, which acquired the specialty steel business of Tata Steel in the UK for £100 million, has evinced interest to buy out stressed asset being put on the block under the National Company Law Tribunal-led process.

The UK-headquartered Group, promoted by Indian origin entrepreneur Sanjeev Gupta, is keen on making a play for mid-sized distressed assets and turning them around by pumping in fresh capital, said sources in the banking sector.

Liberty House has appointed an advisor to scout for mergers and acquisition opportunities in the steel and power sectors, he added.

The 12 companies that are in the NCLT-led resolution for stressed asset are Essar Steel, Bhushan Steel, Electrosteel Steels, Amtek Auto, Bhushan Power and Steel, Alok Industries, Monnet Ispat, Lanco Infra, Era Infra, Jaypee Infratech, ABG Shipyard and Jyoti Structures.

“At this point, our team of experts are assessing the market. We are keen on energy, infrastructure, primary metal production and downstream value adding engineering and manufacturing businesses focused on automotive, aerospace, engineering, defence and railways,” said a Liberty House representative.

The $10-billion Liberty House Group has been nourishing its business with acquisition across the globe.

Earlier this year, it completed acquisition of Tata Speciality Steels UK, Caparo Merchant Bar UK, Amtek UK and Arrium (an integrated Australian mining and steel business) now called Liberty One Steel Australia.

The Group has operations spread across 30 countries and employs over 12,000 people.

Great Indian fire sale

“We are always open to consider offers from potential investors, both domestic and overseas entities, for resolution of debt of companies that are under financial stress,” said a senior public sector bank official.

The great Indian stressed asset sale has attracted interest from quite a few global steel companies which had given up hopes on setting up new steel plant on their own. LN Mittal-owned ArcelorMittal, the world's largest steel company, learnt to have submitted expression of interest to acquire Bhushan Steel.

Earlier, Korean steelmaker Posco, which scrapped the project to set up a 10-million-tonne greenfield steel plant in Odisha after waiting for over a decade, has shown interest in bidding for Bhushan Steel and Essar Steel.

“The NCLT process is indeed a great step forward in India to resolve stressed assets and actually protect insolvency and liquidation. The objective should be to revive the business so that all stakeholders gain in the longer term,” said the Liberty House representative.

Published on November 15, 2017

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