HOEC tries multiple times but fails to acquire Jubilant group oil assets

New Delhi, Nov 27 : In March 2017, JEKPL an oil and gas holding interest in prolific Kharsang Oil Field, located in North East, was referred to the Corporate Insolvency Resolution Process (CIRP) under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC).

Its Committee of Creditors (CoC) included State Bank of India, EXIM, and Central Bank of India and it had no operational creditors.

In pursing the appointment of RP two companies, one an India public sector oil company and another, a privately funded oil company emerged as interested parties. Final bids were invited for JEKPL in December 2017 with the private oil company emerging as the successful resolution applicant, with endorsement by the CoC for more than the qualifying the majority.

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NCLAT, Allahabad Bench, passed the award in December 2017 declaring the private oil company as the successful resolution applicant and it became one of the rare cases where the timeline of 270 days as envisaged in the then IBC was complied with.

However, the public oil company cried foul and challenged the NCLT Award before NCLAT in February 2018. CoC agreed to the direction of NCLAT issued on January 23, 2019 for appointment of another Resolution Professional and sought revised from both the public and private oil company.

In the second bidding round which was concluded on June, 2019, the private oil company once again emerged as the successful resolution applicant and CoC unanimously voted in favour of the Resolution Plan submitted by them, which envisaged upfront payment of INR 123 crores to the financial creditors. NCLT, Allahabad Bench again passed an order on Feb 2020, declaring the private oil company as the successful resolution applicant.

However, the public oil company once again challenged the award before NCLAT. In March 2020, NCLAT dismissed the petition filed by it for lacking any legal standing.

Implementation of the Resolution Plan of the private oil company was completed in September 2020. Financial Creditors comprising of State Bank of India, EXIM and Central Bank of India received cash consideration of Rs 123 crore and 100 per cent shareholding of JEKPL was transferred to the private oil company. Its nominees were appointed as Directors on the Board of JEKPL.

The public oil company again approached NCLAT for a third time, on November 2, 2020, post completion of implementation of the private oil company’s Resolution Plan, to challenge that the resolution plan, so implemented be rendered null and void.

NCLAT passed a landmark judgment on November 17, 2020 dismissing the appeal of HOEC and ensuring that failed resolution applicants should not be allowed to hold hostage the process of corporate revival. HOEC lost to Invenire Energy in its repeated attempts to acquire JEKPL.


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