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birla tyres: Dalmia Bharat, Ruia Co in fray for Birla Tyres

The Dalmia Bharat Group, with interests in cement, refractories, power and sugar, and an affiliate company of stressed assets aquirer Pawan Ruia are in the race to buy Kolkata-based Birla Tyres, a Kesoram Industries company undergoing insolvency proceedings, people aware of the development told ET. Lenders received two binding offers – one from a consortium led by Stephens Financial Services in partnership with Melrose Creations, and the other from Dalmia Bharat Refractories.

Melrose Creations is a Pawan Ruia group company set up three years ago for making N95 masks under the flagship brand Dunlop, the company said in June 2020. “Both the applicants have offered staggered payment and the net present value offered by both is below ₹100 crore. It is substantially below our expectations,” said a lender. “We have asked the resolution applicants to improve the offer,” the same person said. Dalmia Bharat, Pawan Ruia group and resolution professional Pratim Bayal, supported by PwC India, did not respond to ET’s request for comment.

Pawan Ruia gained popularity as a stressed assets buyer after it acquired Jessop & Co from the central government in 2003, and later it purchased troubled tyre maker Dunlop India in 2005 from Jumbo group owned by Manu Chhabria. Jessop & Co in partnership with British company Braithwaite Burn has built Howrah Bridge over river Ganga in Kolkata.

Ruia managed to take Dunlop Tyres out of the purview of Board for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction (BIFR) in 2007 but failed to fully revive the company due to labour-related problems and high operational costs. Calcutta High Court had ordered the liquidation of Dunlop in 2015, but the sale did not go through.

The RP, who admitted ₹1,128 crore in claims from financial creditors, received over two dozen expressions of interest. It includes Ceat, Bain-Piramal backed India Resurgent Fund, Jindal Steel & Power, a Naveen Jindal company, Bommidala Enterprises, Purnendu Chatterjee-promoted MCPI and Himadri Speciality Chemicals.

Birla Tyres manufactures tyres for commercial vehicles, farm vehicles, heavy earth-moving machinery, motorcycles, and three-wheelers. It was demerged from its parent entity – Kesoram – into a standalone tyre manufacturing company in 2019.

One of the key attractions is the location of the plant. It is situated in an industrial area with 181 acres of freehold land available for development. Secondly, it is close to three ports and one airport – Subarnarekha Port, Mahanadi Riverine Port, Paradip Port, and Biju Patnaik International Airport.Among lenders, Axis Bank has made the highest claim of ₹555.6 crore, followed by Asset Reconstruction Company of India at ₹196 crore and State Bank of India at ₹120 crore.

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