JSW Energy Limited (BSE:533148), Jindal Power Limited, Adani Power Limited (NSEI:ADANIPOWER), Swan Energy Limited (BSE:503310), Vedanta Limited (NSEI:VEDL), Coal India Limited (NSEI:COALINDIA) and NTPC Limited (NSEI:NTPC) are among 26 companies that have shown interest in acquiring debt-ridden 1,800 MW KSK Mahanadi power project (KSK Mahanadi Power Company Limited). People aware of the development told ET that some funds have also shown interest in acquiring the plant, which is undergoing a fresh round of auction under the insolvency process. The National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) vacated the stay on the auction of the power project on April 5, paving the way for a fresh round of bidding.

The total claim of lenders on the project is pegged at about INR 32,0000 million. These companies have given 'expressions of interest', which were to be submitted by April 26 and the timeline to give a resolution plan by the interested parties is June 18, according to the timeline set by resolution professional Sumit Binani. ET's emailed queries to Adani Power, NTPC, Coal India, JSW Energy, Vedanta and Swan Energy did not elicit any response till press time.

"Jindal Power Ltd. is looking for opportunities to acquire stressed assets in the power sector. KSK Mahanadi, with 1,800 MW capacity located in Chhattisgarh, is one such plant which JPL is looking to acquire," Anil Kumar Pandey, managing director, Jindal Power, told ET. The NCLT had stayed the sale process of the project in June 2022 following a plea to consolidate the resolution of KSK Mahanadi and two of its ancillary companies, which are also under resolution process.

The current round is expected to garner a better valuation for the project, industry sources said. Adani Power, Jindal Power and Vedanta, among others, were the bidders in the first round of auction as well. "The plant is an operational one and of late there is a push to revive thermal power capacities that is why the interest in companies to bid for such projects," one of the persons said.

The stakeholders in the project earlier wanted resolution of associated projects - KSK Mahanadi Water, which operates a water pipeline to the power plant, and raw material-carrying Raigarh Champa Rail - to be consolidated. After a delay, the committee of creditors agreed for KSK Mahanadi project to go standalone under the insolvency proceedings and moved a petition in the NCLT to remove the stay, ET reported earlier. When the asset was first put up for auction, Power Finance Corporation Limited (NSEI:PFC) (PFC) and its subsidiary REC Limited (NSEI:RECLTD), with NTPC as the technical partner, had also submitted a lenders-backed resolution plan for the project.

The proposal was turned down by the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM). However, NTPC got the green signal for bidding. State Bank of India (NSEI:SBIN) was the major lender to the project until six asset reconstruction companies (ARCs), including those backed by Aditya Birla and Kotak Mahindra, accumulated 55% of the project's INR 293,300 million debt from lenders in March.

Among the ARCs, Aditya Birla ARC Limited has the largest share of 33.38% in claims from KSK Mahanadi Power, followed by ASREC (India) Ltd, which has 11.98%. Of the total lenders' claim of INR 320,000 million, Power Finance Corporation and REC have a claim of INR 55,000 million, according to one of the persons.