| LONDON/NEW DELHI, Sept 25
LONDON/NEW DELHI, Sept 25 An Indian court on
Wednesday issued a restraining order which prevents indebted
steel trading house Stemcor from selling its Indian iron assets,
a sale that would help the trader to repay at least part of its
$1.2 billion debt to banks.
The High court of Calcutta imposed a temporary restraining
order on the sale of Stemcor's Indian assets, which include an
iron ore mine and iron processing facilities in the state of
Odisha, valued by an industry source at about $700-750 million.
The court did so prompted by a petition filed by ICICI Bank
Ltd, India's second largest lender by assets, which
has lent Stemcor 5.87 billion rupees ($93.57 million), with
Stemcor's Indian assets as a collateral.
The loan is to be repaid by December but the bank filed the
complaint worried that a sale of Stemcor's assets in India could
jeopardise the payback.
"This action was taken without any notification to the
company. We were made aware of that last Friday evening and
Stemcor has every intention to comply with its contractual
obligation," a spokesman for Stemcor said.
"We believe the matter will be resolved quickly."
ICICI was not immediately available to comment.
The next hearing will be on Oct. 7.
Stemcor, the world's largest independent steel trader, has
come under pressure from lenders to sell some assets to raise
cash, since it failed to refinance a $850 million syndicated
loan that was due to mature in May.
Steelmakers including Jindal Steel and Power and
JSW Steel have expressed interest in buying the Indian
Stemcor, which trades between 15 million and 20 million
tonnes a year of steel and steel raw materials, including coal
and iron ore, posted a 5.1 billion pounds ($8.19
billion)turnover last year.
($1 = 0.6224 British pounds)
(Editing by William Hardy)