Vedanta puts Sterlite Tamil Nadu plant up for sale
Vedanta has put on sale its Sterlite copper smelting plant at Thoothukudi in Tamil Nadu after facing a lot of hurdles in reopening the unit and has invited an expression for interest from the potential buyers.
The plant was closed in 2018 following the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board’s order over environment concerns.In an advertisement in newspapers, Vedanta in conjunction with Axis Capital invited an Expression of Interest (EoI) for “sale of the state-of-art smelter and refining complex situated at Tuticorin, Tamil Nadu.”
The last day to submit the EoI is July 4. According to Vedanta’s spokesperson, the Tuticorin plant is a national asset which has been catering to 40 per cent of the national demand of copper and has played an integral role towards country’s self-sufficiency in copper.“
In the best interest of the country and the people of Tamil Nadu, we are exploring options to make sure that the plant and the assets are best utilised to meet growing demand of the nation,” the spokesperson said. The advertisement said the plant contributes around Rs 2,500 crore to the exchequer, 12 per cent of Thoothukudi port’s revenue, 95 per cent market share for sulphuric acid in Tamil Nadu, direct employment to 5,000 people and another 25,000 indirectly through the value chain.
The plant meets the highest standards of ESG and environment standards compared to global peers, it said.The unit plays a vital role in meeting the growing domestic demand of copper. The Tamil Nadu government had last year allowed Vedanta’s sealed Sterlite copper plant in Thoothukudi to operate for the production of medical oxygen in view of the depleting oxygen reserves amid the massive spread of the Covid-19 cases. While granting the permission, the state had asked the Sterlite plant not to be involved in the production of copper or any other material. The state had ordered the state pollution control board to seal and “permanently” close the Vedanta Group’s copper plant in Tuticorin after violent protests.