The long-drawn battle for Ruchi Soya finally has a victor, and it’s Adani Wilmar. Billionaire Gautam Adani’s group company’s Rs 6,000 crore bid has been approved by the beleaguered edible oil firm’s committee of creditors. With about 96% of the lenders voting in its favour, contender Patanjali, with a Rs 5,700 crore bid, did not stand a chance.
In the first round of bidding, Baba Ramdev’s company had emerged as the highest bidder with an offer of around Rs 4,300 crore. Adani Wilmar, which sells cooking oil under Fortune brand, had made a much lower bid of Rs 3,300 crore. Ruchi Soya owes a total debt of about Rs 12,000 crore to a consortium of 16 lenders.
However, the CoC was not happy with these initial bids so it had subsequently set the stage for an aggressive bidding war between the two competitors – opting for the Swiss challenge method to maximise the value of the asset. In June, the CoC had opened the fresh bids and declared Adani Wilmar as H1 (highest) bidder, while Patanjali stood as H2 (second highest).
Following this, Patanjali Ayurved was asked to submit a revised bid by June 16 to match or better the highest offer. However, the Haridwar-based company wrote to Ruchi Soya’s resolution professional (RP) seeking clarifications regarding the parameters adopted to choose the highest bidder instead of submitting a bid.
The company had also questioned the eligibility of the Adani Group to participate in the bidding process under Section 29A of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code as well as the appointment of Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas as the RP’s legal advisor as the said law firm was already advising Adani Group.
Clearly, the RP has found no issues with Adani Wilmar and the next step in the resolution process is to seek approval from the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT).
Reacting to the news, the stock of the Indore-based hit the upper circuit limit of 5% on the BSE and is at the Rs 9.42 level currently. Similar movement was seen on NSE as well, where the stock opened at Rs 9.45 and hit its upper circuit limit.
Given that Ruchi Soya boasts several manufacturing plants and its leading brands include Nutrela, Mahakosh, Sunrich, Ruchi Star and Ruchi Gold, Adani Wilmar has much to cheer.