Hotel selloff nets Rs 160 cr
Meet in capital to untie Haldia Petro knots
Eurovigil widens its security solutions net

 
 
HOTEL SELLOFF NETS RS 160 CR 
 
 
FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT
 
New Delhi, Nov. 10: 
The government today disinvested its equity in two state-owned hotels.Juhu Centaur Hotel for Rs 153 crore and Rajgir Hotel for Rs 6.51 crore.

The Juhu Centaur hotel comes under the control of the ministry of civil aviation while the Rajgir Hotel is run by Hotel Corporation of India.

However, the bid of Sterlite Industries to acquire 26 per cent stake in Hindustan Zinc Ltd (HZL) was rejected by the Cabinet Committee on Disinvestment (CCD) as the company had quoted a price below the .reserve price. set by government, said disinvestment minister Arun Shourie. Sterlite was the sole bidder for governmentís stake in HZL after Birla Copper, Binani Zinc, Metdist and Glencore dropped out of the race.

Ajit Kerkar, the former Tata satrap who was eased out of Indian Hotels in 1997 after a stormy battle with Ratan Tata, emerged as the successful bidder for the Juhu Centaur Hotel through his company Tulip Hospitalities which runs a hotel in Goa. Tulip Hospitalities also has a tieup with travel company Cox and Kings.

HCIís 30-room hotel in Rajgir has been snapped up by Impact Travels Pvt India Ltd.

The reserve price for Juhu Centaur was fixed at Rs 101.6 crore while that for Rajgir hotel was Rs 3.86 crore.

However, the Centaur hotels owned by HCI in Delhi and Mumbai which were put on the block could not be divested since the price quoted by the bidders was below the reserve price. These hotels will be open for rebid at a later stage, officials in the disinvestment ministry said. Chefair, the catering arm of Indian Airlines, also failed to secure any bids.

Shourie said the next meeting of CCD will be held on November 13 where it will discuss bids for eight ITDC hotels along with recommendations of group of ministers on disinvestment in IPCL.

He also clarified that the bidders for HZL property sought a few clarifications on environment-related issue. .In Balco, we had undertaken all the environment issues which helped us to go ahead with the process. The officials will take about a month to complete the environment-related issues,. said Shourie.

Officials in the ministry of disinvestment said, .The bidders wanted an environment audit, and an infinite environment indemnity. While the government has agreed on the first issue, the government will only agree to a three-year period for taking up responsibility on an issue related to environment..

Shourie termed the response for HZL as .disappointing.. .HZL is a good company and disinvestment would be reviewed jointly by my ministry (disinvestment) and the mines ministry and it will taken to the cabinet in February..

He pointed out that government has not lowered the reserve price for HZL just for the sake of closing the deal and said the Supreme Court judgment on Balco disinvestment would give strong indications on how far the disinvestment direction was correct.

   

 
 
MEET IN CAPITAL TO UNTIE HALDIA PETRO KNOTS 
 
 
BY SUTANUKA GHOSAL
 
Calcutta, Nov. 10: 
The two major promoters of Haldia Petrochemicals Limited . Purnendu Chatterjee of The Chatterjee Group and the West Bengal government . will hold a crucial meeting in New Delhi next week to deliberate on the twin issues of majority shareholding in the petrochem firm and offering a stake to Indian Oil Corporation (IOC).

The meeting, which is being kept a secret, will see commerce and industry minister Nirupam Sen and commerce secretary Jawhar Sircar representing the state government. When contacted, senior state commerce and industry department officials, however, denied that the government was holding any such meeting.

Sources said the TCG chief would ask the government to work out a mutually acceptable formula for IOCís entry in the stateís showcase project. It is learnt that Chatterjee, who is against IOCís proposal of acquiring HPLís stake at par, will ask the state government to properly evaluate the shares of HPL.

Sources familiar with the developments said both sides would hold threadbare discussions on the shareholding pattern. With the Tatas having informed the state government that they want to get out of the project the situation has become more critical.

IOCís proposal to acquire a majority stake in the project by investing Rs 468 crore has been rejected by the TCG chief.He has informed the state government that IOC is welcome in the project but on a mutually acceptable formula.

HPL has a paid-up equity of Rs 1,010 crore, with the government and TCG putting in Rs 433 crore each and the remaining Rs 144 crore coming from the Tatas. The authorised share capital of the project is Rs 2,000 crore.The gap in the share capital has been met through a bridge loan of Rs 500 crore from the Industrial Development Bank of India, through private placement of debentures and an advance against an equity of Rs 150 crore which has come from the state government and the Tatas.

HPL managing director Richard B. Saldanha has already reached Delhi. When asked whether the issues regarding majority shareholding and IOCís participation will be thrashed out next week, he said, .These are very sensitive issues. I cannot comment on them as after all these are the promoters. issues and not the managementís issues.. .

The interest payment deadline is drawing near, but the government is yet to take a decision on who the majority shareholder will be. The company may not be able to pay the interest in this quarter since business is extremely sluggish,. sources said.

Saldanha too admitted that business in the third quarter is not looking up. .Depressed market conditions have affected our business, but we expect a recovery by December,. he said.

HPL is under tremendous pressure from banks and the financial institutions that have categorically told the promoters that the company will not get any breather unless the shareholding pattern is resolved. HPL had asked for a loan reschedulement and waiver on the interest rate.

   

 
 
EUROVIGIL WIDENS ITS SECURITY SOLUTIONS NET 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, Nov. 10: 
Eurovigil, the security systems division of Eureka Forbes Ltd, has introduced four new security solutions for commercial, industrial and residential purposes. The products have been developed by the Canadabased Digital Security Control with whom Eurovigil has a strategic alliance.

The Rs 8-crore Eurovigil has set a sales target of Rs 14 crore for the current and will focus on the eastern region, which, it expects, will contribute 15 per cent to the divisionís total turnover.

Eurovigil is especially targeting jewellers and industrial plants for installation of its remote surveillance system, which would cost less than Rs 2 lakh. Says Suresh Menon, deputy general manager, .The use of closed circuit TV for surveillance is very common in shopping malls and industrial plants. This is the first time that we have used the internet to enable remote surveillance.

   
 

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