In June this year, the Reserve Bank of India had referred 12 companies to National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) for insolvency proceedings. Of these 12, five companies are from the steel sector — Essar Steel, Bhushan Steel, Monnet Ispat & Energy, Bhushan Power & Steel and Electrosteel Steels.
The world largest steel-maker could be interested in Bhushan Steel or Essar Steel, the sources said.
Last month, a team from the SBI Capital Markets - advising lenders for some of the above companies - had visited London to discuss the issue with the ArcelorMittal team, the report said.
Essar Steel has a capacity of 10 million tonnes and has a debt of Rs 37,284 crore on its books in 2015-16. Bhushan Steel's capacity stands at 5.6 million tonnes with a debt of Rs 44,478 crore.
Acquisition of either of the steel companies could pave the way for ArcelorMittal's entry into the Indian market. Several other global investors have shown interest in acquiring stake in Bhushan Steel.
According to earlier reports, Piramal-Bain (the partnership between Piramal Enterprises and Bain Capital Credit formed to invest in stressed debt), Los Angeles-based Oaktree Capital, Lone Star Funds and AION Capital Partners are among the investors interested in acquiring a stake in Bhushan Steel.
The steel sector could be the first sector among the 12 stressed cases to see a deal going through. The sector is seeing a return to growth after a prolonged slump.
Steel production is likely to grow at 6.1 percent this year, the highest among 10 steel using countries, according to World Steel Association. In 2018, 7.1 percent growth is estimated.