LONDON Feb 26 Stemcor won approval for a debt
restructuring from the High Court in London on Wednesday,
UK-based steel trader said in a statement, ending months of
uncertainty after it defaulted on an $850 million loan last
The privately owned firm, controlled by members of the
Oppenheimer family including opposition Labour lawmaker Margaret
Hodge, also won approval from the court to borrow an extra $1.15
billion up to December 2015.
Stemcor's lenders include ABN AMRO, HSBC, ING, Natixis and
Like many steel firms, Stemcor was hit hard by the global
financial crisis, and remains under pressure to sell its iron
ore assets in India <here in
order to repay its more than $1 billion debts.
"Over the course of the next two years, Stemcor will
continue to dispose of non-core activities. This will include
the sale of its Indian assets where discussions with a number of
interested parties are ongoing," Stemcor spokesman Charles
A company executive told Reuters last week that Stemcor's
iron ore pellet plant in Odisha, India, was running at 50
percent capacity due to weak domestic demand and to a recently
introduced 5 percent duty on iron exports from India.
The export tax is weighing on the sale of Stemcor's Indian
assets, as is a report on illegal mining by the
government-appointed Shah Commission, which has introduced some
doubt about the future of mining in India's top iron producing
At least two Indian firms - Jindal Steel and Power Ltd and
JSW Steel Ltd - have confirmed they have bid for the assets,
which include iron ore mines and a 4-million-tonne a year pellet
plant in the eastern Odisha state, previously valued by an
industry source at about $700-$750 million.
(Reporting by Maytaal Angel; Editing by Louise Ireland)