The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
Email This Page
Naik sets stiff terms for HPL

New Delhi, June 3 (PTI): Gail India Ltd and Indian Oil Corporation will not take equity stake in Haldia Petrochemicals Ltd unless given management control, petroleum minister Ram Naik said today.

“The issue is whether they (HPL promoters The Chatterjee group) will be ready to give management control. If this is sorted our it could either be IOC or Gail or both (taking equity stake in HPL),” Naik told reporters here.

He categorically stated that the two oil firms were not portfolio investors and “will not perform the role of a financial institution (infusing money without management control).”

While IOC had last year proposed to take 26 per cent stake in the beleaguered HPL at an investment of about Rs 500 crore, Gail, which has already entered into a marketing alliance with the Calcutta-based petrochemical firm, had till now pursued 10 per cent equity investment without any say in management.

Though The Chatterjee group was at that time not inclined to give management control to IOC, lenders to HPL had favoured the state refiner as partner.

“IOC proposal (for 26 per cent stake) still stands. Now Gail too is willing to pick up to 26 per cent stake. It is now up to the promoters and lenders to decide on the fate of the $ 1.1 billion project,” he said.

The state firms also want promoters and lenders to bring down the debt-equity ratio to 2:1 through financial restructuring.

“We want HPL to run efficiently and profitably. For this to happen they need a partner with financial muscle,” Naik said while mentioning that representatives of West Bengal government and The Chatterjee group had sought his intervention previously.

Email This Page