Sanjeev Gupta’s Liberty Steel nears deal with Credit Suisse, Greensill
Sanjeev Gupta’s steel unit Liberty Steel Group has signed a restructuring deal with its biggest creditors, a significant step in his attempt to refinance debts.
Gupta’s company agreed in principle on a term sheet covering debts owed to Credit Suisse and units of Greensill Capital, the financial firm which was his largest lender until it collapsed last year, according to an emailed statement on Tuesday. While the deal remains subject to documentation and internal approvals, it will halt a court action taken against Gupta’s firms by the Swiss bank, it said.
Gupta’s sprawling group of metals firms, gathered under a loose umbrella called GFG Alliance, were pushed to the brink when Greensill collapsed in March 2021. Since then, the tycoon has struggled to find fresh financing, all while facing the threat of being wound up by Credit Suisse, which had bought loans linked to GFG through Greensill’s supply chain funds.
Under the deal announced on Tuesday, Liberty will make repayments through a combination of lump sums and scheduled instalments, the statement said.
A similar debt restructuring deal is being discussed between GFG’s European steel businesses and Greensill’s Germany-based banking arm, now in standstill, according to the statement.
Gupta has already lost several assets as creditors closed in. The collapse of his biggest lender deprived some of his businesses of vital working capital, forcing GFG to cede two steel plants in France. Private equity firm American Industrial Partners also took control of his prized aluminum smelter in Dunkirk after it defaulted on debts.
Gupta’s firms have also been subject to an international criminal investigation over alleged fraud and money laundering. Offices in Paris and London were both raided by prosecutors earlier in the year.
Administrators for Greensill Capital and Greensill Bank and a spokesperson for Credit Suisse declined to comment.
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