Battle for Essar Steel: ArcelorMittal rebuffs VTB, says its bid is eligible

Kolkata, Mar 5: Even before the eligibility test score is out, a war of words has broken out between the two bidders for Essar Steel — Numetal and ArcelorMittal.
A day after VTB Capital vice-chairman Makram Abboud said ArcelorMittal’s bid for Essar Steel was illegal, the world’s largest steel maker responded that its bid was “eligible”.
“We are confident about the integrity of the process, which will be adjudicated by the Resolution Professional. We continue to believe our bid is eligible and that as the world’s leading steel company in partnership with Nippon Steel and Sumitomo Metals, we have unrivalled industry expertise and a demonstrable track record that is very relevant for Essar Steel India Limited,” a company statement said.
Sources close to the world’s largest steel maker also pointed out that Numetal wasn’t the only company that had taken a legal opinion in the matter. ArcelorMittal’s legal advisors had said that its bid was eligible.
The retort was in response to statements made by Abboud to the media that despite ArcelorMittal’s lobbying with the Indian government, its “illegal bid” should not be cleared as it does not meet the eligibility criteria as per the current Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC). He also said that Numetal had taken legal opinion from three different law firms and they are all of the opinion that ArcelorMittal and its promoters’ investments in two non-performing assets (NPAs) in India will debar it from bidding.
Sources close to ArcelorMittal said, Numetal was not in a position to judge ArcelorMittal’s eligibility. It was up to the resolution professional and its legal advisors to take a call on the matter.