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PSL revives SEZ plan as new tax code
September, 15th 2010

PSL Ltd, a pipe manufacturer, is expecting its single-product special economic zone, which was mooted two years ago, to gather momentum with the Direct Taxes Code (DTC) bill clearing the air on the tax implications for SEZs.

In 2008, PSL had proposed a port-based alternate energy SEZ at Pipavav in Gujarat. But it had kept plans on hold due to lack of clarity on policy fronts.

Now since the government has cleared doubts on the SEZ policy and proposed continuation of certain benefits, we expect our SEZ to attract investments again, said Ashok Punj, chairman and managing director, PSL.

On August 10, after the DTC bill was tabled in the Lok Sabha, SEZs across the country have got a breather. Under the draft DTC, SEZ will continue to enjoy income-tax benefits if it has been notified on or before March 31, 2012, under the Special Economic Zones Act, 2005. However, the SEZs would have to shell out the minimum alternate tax.

Punj said not only the lack of clarity on policy but also a slowdown in the economy led to the company keeping its plans on hold.

Although the SEZ did not pick up, we have not thought about unlocking its value by selling it off, he said, adding, the company is firm on developing it, now that the government has shown support.

The company holds over 250 acres of land at Pipavav, where it plans to build an alternate energy and ancillary SEZ. It has all the licences and approvals for it. According to the company website, PSL plans to attract investments from companies interested in setting up units in bio-diesel, wind mill, pipe manufacturing, solar equipment manufacturing, repair of offshore modules, repair of offshore supply vessels, rig and modules, rig fabrication and modular inputs for offshore oil and gas industry, etc.

The initial investment to build infrastructure for the SEZ could go up to Rs150 crore, which will be above the investments by individual companies, he said.

PSL, which manufactures steel pipes used in the oil & gas and water sectors, has a domestic capacity of 1.4 million tonne per annum and an overseas capacity of 375,000 tonnes per annum. Punj said the companys current order-book is of Rs2,000 crore.

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