Sarda Energy & Minerals, highest bidder for SKS Power Generation

01 Jun 2023

According to sources familiar with the matter, Sarda Energy & Minerals, a Chhattisgarh-based steel producer with captive iron ore mines, has emerged as the highest bidder for SKS Power Generation (Chhattisgarh). Their offer of Rs 18 billion covers 100 per cent of the outstanding dues owed to the lenders of the company, which is currently undergoing insolvency proceedings.

In the bidding process overseen by a resolution professional, Sarda Energy & Minerals outbid competitors including the Naveen Jindal group and Torrent Power. The lenders to SKS Power Generation (Chhattisgarh) are Bank of Baroda and State Bank of India, and their total outstanding dues, including principal and interest, amount to Rs 18 billion, as per records from the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India.

A person familiar with the matter stated that the winning offer not only ensures full recovery for the lenders but also provides potential long-term benefits based on the company's performance.

Sarda Energy and Minerals and Ashish Rathi, the resolution professional for SKS Power Generation (Chhattisgarh), as well as BOB Capital Markets, the process advisor for the deal, did not respond to queries from ET at the time of publication.

Previously, SKS Power Generation (Chhattisgarh) attracted interest from preliminary bidders such as the Adani Group and Reliance Industries. However, both companies eventually withdrew from the process.

The company operates two power plants, each with a capacity to generate 300 MW of power. The company faced challenges due to the non-operational status of its second power plant. During the insolvency process, the lenders provided interim finance to activate the second power plant. Subsequently, the company became profitable upon its commencement of operations.

Sarda Energy and Minerals reportedly made an aggressive bid for the company due to its ownership of coal mines near the power plants of SKS Power Generation (Chhattisgarh), ensuring convenient access to fuel and cost-effective power production.

Torrent Power showed interest in the acquisition due to its ownership of electricity distribution licenses, aiming to establish an integrated business model by acquiring a power producer. The Naveen Jindal group also owns coal mines, aligning their acquisition strategy with that of Sarda Energy & Minerals.

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