Patanjali Ayurved (Photo Source: Facebook)
In its first major acquisition, Yoga guru Baba Ramdev-led Patanjali Ayurved walked away with debt-ridden edible oil firm Ruchi Soya with a bid of Rs 4,325 crore, sources said. Patanjali acquired Ruchi Soya Industries in an insolvency auction started by lenders to recover over Rs 9,300 crore loans. Homegrown FMCG major almost got a walk over after rival Adani Wilmar decided to pull out from the race despite being selected the highest bidder few months back.
According to sources, lenders on Tuesday approved the Patanjali's revised bid of Rs 4,325 crore with around 96 per cent vote in favour. When contacted, Patanjali also confirmed the development.
"We are informed about the development. Voting has gone in our favour," Patanjali Ayurved spokesperson S K Tijarawala said. "Tomorrow they would hand over the result to us and then we would proceed further," he added.
With the acquisition of Ruchi Soya, Patanjali will become a major player in soyabean oils and other products. In December 2017, the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) had referred Ruchi Soya for insolvency proceedings on the application of financial creditors Standard Chartered Bank and DBS Bank. Shailendra Ajmera was appointed as resolution professional (RP) to manage the company's affairs and conduct insolvency proceedings.
Patanjali, the lone player left in contention after the exit of Adani Wilmar, had last month increased its bid value by around Rs 200 crore to Rs 4,350 crore for the Ruchi Soya. This excluded capital infusion of Rs 1,700 crore into the company.
Ruchi Soya Industries owes around Rs 9,345 crore to financial creditors. Among financial creditors, State Bank of India (SBI) has the maximum exposure of around Rs 1,800 crore, followed by Central Bank of India Rs 816 crore, Punjab National Bank Rs 743 crore and Standard Chartered Bank - India Rs 608 crore.
Ruchi Soya has many manufacturing plants and its leading brands include Nutrela, Mahakosh, Sunrich, Ruchi Star and Ruchi Gold.
"We have revised our bid to Rs 4,350 crore from earlier offer of Rs 4,160 crore. We are ready to bail out Ruchi Soya which has the biggest infrastructure for soyabean. It's a national asset," Patanjali's spokesperson S K Tijarawala had said last month. The decision to increase the bid was taken in the interest of all stakeholders, including farmers and consumers, he had said.
Adani Wilmar, which emerged as the highest bidder in August last year after a long-drawn battle with Patanjali, had in December 2018 written to the RP regarding significant delays in resolution process that led to deterioration of Ruchi Soya's assets.
Later, Adani Wilmar, which sells edible oil under the Fortune brand, withdrew from the race. Adani Wilmar had then said the process was getting delayed as the Patanjali group moved the NCLT, Mumbai.
Patanjali Ayurved had approached NCLT challenging the decision of Ruchi Soya's lenders to approve Adani Wilmar's takeover bid. Patanjali group had come second in the bidding process. The deal would help the Haridwar-based firm, which is struggling to keep growth momentum that it had seen previously.
Patanjali, which had recorded multi-fold growth in recent years, witnessed a marginal growth in 2017-18 hit by implementation of GST, finishing at around Rs 12,000 crore.
In 2016-17, Patanjali clocked a turnover of Rs 10,561 crore, registering 111 per cent growth. Now the company is focusing more on the agriculture and food processing sector as part of its strategy.