Perdaman drags ICICI Bank to Aus court in Lanco issue
New Delhi: Locked in AUD 3.5 billion legal battle with Lanco, Perdaman Industries has approached a court in Australia against ICICI Bank, a lender to the Indian infrastructure company which termed the move as a "desperate attempt in frustration".
Perdaman last year had filed AUD 3.5 billion lawsuit against Lanco in Australia, alleging non-compliance with fuel supply pact by Griffin Coal for its upcoming urea plant in Western Australia.
Griffin Coal was acquired by Lanco for AUD 730 million in March, 2011 and a syndicate of lenders led by ICICI Bank financed the acquisition.
Lanco CEO (Business Development) Nagaprasad Kandimalla said Perdaman has filed the case against ICICI Bank at the Federal Court of Western Australia but the same is yet to be admitted.
"The current attempt against ICICI Bank is a desperate attempt of greenmail in frustration and against one of the most reputed institution of India," Kandimalla told PTI from Australia.
Noting that Perdaman's move against ICICI Bank is baseless, Kandimalla said the lender does not have any contractual relationship with the Australian company.
When contacted, an ICICI Bank spokesperson said it has no comments to offer.
Perdaman Industries Chairman & Managing Director Vikas Rambal said: "In light of the Western Australia Supreme Court's finding that Perdaman has a good arguable case and that the case should go to trial, Lanco's statement that Perdaman's claim is baseless can only be regarded as grossly misleading," Rambal said in an e-mailed statement.
"The fact that ICICI has no contractual relationship with Perdaman is irrelevant as this is not a prerequisite for the commencement of proceedings for unconscionable conduct within the meaning of the Australian Consumer Law," he added.
Lanco in a separate statement said: "Perdaman started litigation with us in May 2011, to damage our reputation. And in the last 19 months Perdaman has almost lost its confidence of winning this case, which will be decided against them shortly."
"Lanco is certain to put an end to all Perdaman's tactics and in the trial and their case will be dismissed," it added.
Meanwhile, Lanco said that Perdaman's claims of being a multinational company is "false".
"... (Perdaman) is a notional company, with no operations and we believe have five employees whose sole business seems to be engaging in greenmail.
"Perdaman group doesn't have any ongoing business activity anywhere in the world," the statement noted.
For its upcoming Collie urea plant, Perdaman had entered into a 25-year coal supply pact with Australia's Griffin Coal, which was acquired by Lanco for AUD 730 million in March 2011. The pact was finalised in December 2010, with the then owners of Griffin.