The Tata Steel logo. Photo: Reuters
The Tata Steel logo. File photo: Reuters

Beleaguered steelmaker Bhushan Power & Steel, which is undergoing the insolvency process mandated by India’s central bank, Reserve Bank of India (RBI), has attracted seven buyers, including Tata Steel, JSW Steel and Vedanta.

The unlisted Bhushan Power & Steel has a steel-making capacity of three million tons across the states of Odisha, West Bengal and the union territory of Chandigarh. It has a hot-rolled steel facility in Odisha and cold-rolling facilities in Kolkata and Chandigarh. Bhushan Steel also has a captive power plant, a pellet plant and an iron ore beneficiation plant, according to Business Standard.

It figured in the list of 12 large non-performing accounts the RBI had recommended for insolvency under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code.

The company ran into trouble after its licenses for iron ore and coal mines were cancelled. It was allotted a coal mine, with reserves of around 250 million tons, but this was deallocated in 2014. The iron ore mines were committed by the Odisha government. Two mines were allocated in 2012 and 2014 after the intervention of the Supreme Court .

Subsequently, the amended Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act was passed in 2015. As a result, Bhushan’s iron ore mines’ licenses were also cancelled.

The debt in FY16 stood at Rs 372.48 billion (US$ 5.72 billion), net sales were at Rs 76.99 billion (US$ 1.18 billion) and losses at Rs 24.36 billion (US$ 37 million).

The companies that have shown expressions of interest (EOIs) also include a private equity player, an investor from the UAE, a mid-sized domestic steel company and the existing promoter, Sanjay Singal.

Tata Steel and JSW Steel are looking to ramp up capacity and they see Bhushan Steel insolvency as an opportunity to achieve their targets. Tata Steel plans to double capacity in India to 26 million tonnes in the next five years.

For JSW Steel, which has a strong presence in West and South India, acquiring Bhushan Steel would ensure a foothold in the eastern part of the country.

Since both companies manufacture value-added automotive steel products, the acquisition would boost JSW Steel’s market share in this segment. Bhushan Steel’s client list includes auto majors such as Hyundai Motors India, Ford Motors India, Mahindra & Mahindra, Eicher Tractors and Ashok Leyland.