Essar Global Fund Ltd (Essar Global), the holding company of the Essar Group of companies, today reached yet another milestone in deleveraging by repaying the last tranche of debt of Rs 12,000 crore (US$1.75 billion) to its various Indian and foreign lenders. This is in addition to the Rs 30,000 crore (US$5 billion) repayment made in August 2017 to various lenders from the proceeds of the Essar Oil monetisation.
Over the past two years Essar Group has repaid more than Rs 1,37,000 crore (US$21 billion) of debt (including Essar Steel), majority of which is to the Indian banking system. This is more than 80% of its group debt.
Essar Global has now repaid approximately Rs 6,300 crore to ICICI Bank, Axis Bank and Standard Chartered Bank. With this, these banks have been repaid their entire facility of Rs 31,500 crore, which they had provided to Essar Global to fund its capital expenditure programme in 2008-14. The only continuing lender to Essar Global is now VTB, which has been working with Essar Global over the past three years to monetise certain assets, strategically lighten the balance sheet, deleverage the group and reposition it for growth in the future.
In addition to repaying all of its existing secured debt, Essar Global has also simultaneously concluded a settlement with all lenders who had provided debt facilities to erstwhile Essar Steel Minnesota Ltd and were beneficiaries of unsecured guarantees from Essar Global. Lenders with whom settlements have been concluded include various Indian banks led by ICICI Bank, State Bank of India, as well as a consortium of international funds led by Davidson Kempner. As part of the aforementioned settlement, Essar Global has purchased US$260 million face value notes issued by Mesabi Metallics Inc. These notes substantially constitute all of the debt of Mesabi, and paves the way for Essar Global to once again participate in the low-cost iron ore mining and pellet manufacturing project that is under construction in Minnesota, USA.