The Russian embassy in India has confirmed that Russian shipbuilding group USC is considering a bid to acquire Indian firm Reliance Naval and Engineering, whose recent projects have included the construction of offshore patrol vessels for the Indian Navy

The Russian embassy in India has confirmed that the Russian state-owned group, United Shipbuilding Corporation (USC), is bidding to acquire troubled Indian shipyard Reliance Naval and Engineering Ltd (RNEL).

In a recent statement, the embassy said USC is currently auditing Mumbai-based RNEL and assessing potential investment opportunities. “UCS [has] passed the accreditation procedure, which provided access to electronic accounts with financial and economic documents related to the Indian company,” said the embassy.

It added, “[USC] is currently conducting due diligence of RNEL’s condition and assessing parameters of possible investments”.

The embassy went on to say that due to the Covid-19 pandemic USC has faced “some difficulties” in carrying out a “comprehensive analysis” of RNEL, particularly in terms of direct talks between the two sides.

However, it said, USC is anticipated to finalise its decision soon on whether to table a formal bid for the Indian naval shipbuilder.

“USC is expected to finalise its stance on further participation in the bidding procedure after completing the remote study of the documents provided by the debtor’s trustee and the field review of the RNEL’s assets by USC’s specialists,” it said.

RNEL has been facing severe economic pressures for several years, with its sale intended to pay off its heavy debts, which are linked to its previous shipyard expansion and downturns in commercial shipbuilding and energy sectors.

The company was previously owned by the Reliance Infrastructure group but has been under the control of a court-appointed insolvency firm since earlier this year.