Tata Steel angles for acquiring VSP

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Stage set for India’s first shore-based integrated steel plant; Tata Steel Long Products Ltd submitted EoI for Odisha-based steel maker Neelachal Ispat Nigam as well

New Delhi: Domestic steel giant Tata Steel is interested in acquiring state-owned Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited (RINL), the company's Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Managing Director T V Narendran said.

RINL is the corporate entity of Visakhapatnam Steel Plant (VSP). RINL, under the Ministry of Steel, owns and operates a 7.3 million tones (MT) plant in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh. It holds the distinction of being India's first shore-based integrated steel plant.

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on January 27, gave its 'in-principle' approval for 100 per cent disinvestment of government stake in RINL, also called Visakhapatnam Steel Plant (VSP) or Vizag Steel, along with RINL's stake in its subsidiaries/joint ventures through strategic disinvestment by way of privatisation. When asked about Tata Steel's interest in acquiring RINL, Narendran replied in affirmative. "Yes! Also, because for inorganic growth for long product opportunities. There is a great opportunity because it is east as well as it is south, it is a coastal plant so, there are many advantages," he told PTI. RINL has approximately 22,000 acre of land and enjoys access to Gangavaram Port, where raw materials such as coking coal etc arrives. Since RINL is located on the eastern coast of India, the acquisition will give Tata Steel more access to the South East Asian markets — where the company already has presence — besides catering to the domestic needs of special steel through rail and road.

The CEO further said Tata Steel has submitted Expression of Interest (EoI) for Odisha-based steel maker Neelachal Ispat Nigam Ltd (NINL) as well. NINL is a joint venture company, in which four central PSUs - MMTC, National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC), Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL) and MECON - and two Odisha government companies IPICOL and Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC) are shareholders. In January 2020, Centre gave an in-principle approval for strategic sale of NINL by allowing the six PSU shareholders to sell their stake in the steel company. The EoI has been submitted by Tata Steel Long Products Ltd, he said. Narendran said, "we have done the due diligence, we are participating in the process. I think we have some time to put in our bids, etc.

So, we will take a call, when we need to decide. We have submitted the EoI, but not as Tata steel, but as Tata Steel Long Products. Kolkata-based Tata Steel Long Products is in the business of manufacturing high alloy steel, primarily for the auto sector and wire rope industry. With one million tonne capacity, it is one of the largest specialty steel plants in India in the long product segment.

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