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Amarchand-Dorsey underbid Luthra-Jones Day to score Hindustan Copper sale

Copper wire
Copper wire
Amarchand Mangaldas' Delhi office and Dorsey & Whitney have won the bid on the Hindustan Copper divestment while Khaitan & Co bagged the underwriter's mandate.

Amarchand also won the role for the underwriters on the mammoth Coal India stake sale with Ashurst as international counsel while Luthra had won the tender to advise the company.

Amarchand's Delhi office, led by partner Prashant Gupta and principal associate Aarti Joshi fielded the team in the Hindustan Copper pitch facing Luthra & Luthra in the final selection round.

Amarchand had paired up with Dorsey & Whitney Sydney partner John Chrisman and Hong Kong partner Liza Mark, while Luthra & Luthra had teamed up with Jones Day.

Khaitan & Co meanwhile won the instruction for the Hindustan Copper underwriters, according to sources familiar with the matter.

It is understood that Amarchand had submitted a fee-quote of around Rs 46 lakh ($100,000) for the Hindustan Copper divestment with Dorsey quoting around $175,000 (Rs 80 lakh), according to a source familiar with the bidding process.

Luthra & Luthra is understood to have bid around Rs 63 lakhs ($136,800) with Jones Day coming in with a proposal of $375,000 (Rs 170 lakh).

Amarchand was selected according to the lowest-bidder principle.

Earlier this year the government's ministry of disinvestment trialled a new bidding approach where it invited top law firms according to league tables to tender for the Coal India and Engineers India public offerings.

Hindustan Copper's divestment is being led by the company rather than the ministry of disinvestment because Hindustan's issue involved a fresh issue and not only an offer for sale.

The government was looking to raise about Rs 6,000 crore ($1.3bn) from the sale of 20 per cent in Hindustan Copper although bankers cited by the Economic Times said that this overvalued the company.

Pricing strategies

Amarchand and Ashurst have also won the underwriters' mandate on the Rs 12,000 crore Coal India disinvestment, which filed its draft prospectus today. Ashurst Hong Kong partner Stuart Rubin is understood to be leading the international advice for the underwriters alongside Amarchand.

Luthra & Luthra and DLA Piper had won the Coal India and Engineers India Limited company instructions over Amarchand in May 2010 by putting in the lowest bid.

In the bid for Engineers India Limited, Luthra & Luthra and DLA Piper are understood to have come in with a joint heavily discounted price of around Rs 136 lakh against Amarchand and Jones Day's price of around Rs 150 lakh, with Luthra's bid in the Coal India share sale being even lower according to sources.

Amarchand Mangaldas and Luthra & Luthra are currently tied in the 2010-11 financial year first quarter initial public offering league table, compiled by Legally India.

All firms declined or were unavailable for comment when contacted.

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