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Focus on overseas acquisition
January, 02nd 2010

The steel ministry has directed governmentowned companies like Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL), Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited (RINL) and National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC) to scale up its overseas acquisition drive and close at least one deal within the next three months.

The tall order by the ministry comes in the backdrop of ongoing discussions with mining and steel companies in Australia even as ore prices continue to rise.

Speaking exclusively to ET NOW, steel ministry secretary Atul Chaturvedi said: Security of resources for future product requirements is absolutely essential, especially for those natural resources which are not available in abundance, such as cooking coal.

Hence, we have advised PSUs to aggressively acquire assets abroad . The government has asked these PSUs to look at acquisitions in the range of Rs. 1000-1500 crores, said a person in the know who did not wish to be named said.

The steel ministry has expressed concerns that most of these cash-rich PSUs have failed to close a deal despite ongoing talks with several foreign players .

When we say that the acquisition should be completed in the current financial year, it implies that these companies should complete the process of selection of the proposed asset to be acquired as well as due diligence and other steps for finalisation of the deal , Mr. Chaturvedi said.

The Government has made it clear that it is not necessary for these companies to acquire a 100% stake in the assets, thus giving them room to enter into partnerships of joint venture agreements.

International Coal Ventures Limited (ICVL), a joint venture between SAIL, Coal India Limited (CIL), RINL, NMDC and National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC), was formed with an objective to acquire coal assets abroad to meet the increasing energy requirements of these companies.

ICVL was earlier looking at acquisitions in Australia , Canada, USA, Indonesia, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and South Africa.

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