JSW Steel and Tata Steel emerged as the leading contenders to buy up the assets of debt-laden Bhushan Power & Steel when the deadline for final submissions closed yesterday.

Business Standard reported that JSW Steel lodged the highest bid of Rs130 billion (US$2.02 billion), while Tata’s offer was Rs115 billion (US$1.79 billion). About 13 companies submitted expressions of interest, but some did not qualify and only five made the shortlist.

As the company has been referred to a bankruptcy court by its lenders, all bids and resolution plans will be scrutinised by the Competition Commission of India. SBI Capital Markets will then evaluate the financial plans and place them before a committee of creditors, with the successful buyer expected to be announced by February 16.

Bhushan Steel has total debt of Rs470 billion (US$7.3 billion), up sharply from its liabilities of Rs372 billion (US$5.78 billion) at the end of the 2016 financial year. But its steelmaking capacity of 3 million tonnes, spread across Odisha, West Bengal and Chandigarh, makes it an attractive proposition for rival manufacturers.