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ONGC Videsh, Prudent ARC make binding offers for Venugopal Dhoot’s VOVL

Mumbai: Lenders of VOVL, the oil and gas exploration company owned by Venugopal Dhoot, received binding bids from ONGC Videsh and Prudent Asset Reconstruction Company late last week, people aware of the development told ET.

They also received two separate non-binding offers from Brazilian energy companies, Eneva SA and

Rio SA, the people said.

Lenders led by the

are hoping to recover at least one-third of loans or ₹9,000 crore-₹10,000 crore given to VOVL, earlier known as Videocon Oil Ventures.

The resolution professional Pravin Navandar has admitted ₹30,640 crore claims from financial creditors. VOVL has about ₹1,800 crore-₹2,000 crore as cash balance.

Agencies

It is among the list of companies that the National Asset Reconstruction Co, the government-owned bad bank, plans to acquire from lenders. So far, NARCL has not made any firm offer.

Navandar declined to comment and

did not respond to ET’s request for comments.

Although VOVL was admitted for insolvency resolution in November 2019, the sale process has been prolonged, with the resolution professional (RP) inviting firm bids twice in the last three years in the hope of wider participation.

In October 2020, the RP received an expression of interest (EoI) from

and four separate EoIs from Brazilian companies – Petro SA, GeoPark Brasil, Eneva SA and Wintershall Dea. This followed firm bids from Petro SA and Eneva SA.

Around the same time, lenders decided to restart the process in an attempt to widen the participation from Indian companies and instructed the RP not to open the resolution plans from the two Brazilian companies.

The move to attract more applicants was to avert a fiasco similar to Videocon Industries, where the bankruptcy court frowned at lenders for accepting a bid closer to liquidation value.

VOVL lenders approached ONGC’s top management, requesting them to participate in the resolution process, as reported by ET on December 7, 2021. Lenders believed that participation by the state-owned company would bring credibility to the process.

Subsequently, the RP received EoIs from over a dozen companies. These included Vedanta, ONGC Videsh, Singapore-based Saiml Pte Ltd, Petro Rio SA and Eneva SA, Eight Capital, Dubai-based Citax Holding, Zinnia Fund, Murphy Worldwide, CFM ARC and Prudent ARC, as reported by ET on December 21.

While approving the resolution plan in June 2021, NCLT had questioned how lenders agreed to sell Videocon Industries to billionaire Anil Agarwal-promoted Twin Star Technologies at a price equating to a recovery of 4.15% of the total claims. The NCLAT, on July 19, 2021, stayed the sale of Videocon and its 12 companies following an appeal by

on the distribution of proceeds.

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