A day before the Union Budget, Centre on Monday approved the strategic sale of 93.71 % sale of Neelachal Ispat Nigam Ltd (NINL) to Tata Steel which had offered the highest bid of Rs 12,100 crore.
This is the second biggest disinvestment of the Union Government after Indian Airlines, and both the leading Public sector Units were sold to Tata Groups of Industries.
Neelachal Ispat Nigam Ltd. (NINL) is a joint venture of 4 Centre Public Sector Enterprise (CPSEs), namely MMTC, NMDC, BHEL, MECON, and 2 Odisha Govt. PSUs, namely OMC and IPICOL. It has an integrated steel plant with a capacity of 1.1 MT, at Kalinganagar, Odisha, and has been running in huge losses with a huge debt of Rs 6,600 crores.
The debt includes Rs 4,116 overdue of promoters, Rs 1,741 crore to various banks. The company has a negative net worth of Rs 3,487 crore and accumulated losses of Rs 4228 crore, said a senior officer of the Finance Ministry.
Though the Union Government did not have any direct stake in the company, the DIPAM (Department of Divestment and Pubic Asset Management) took the initiative at the request of the Boards of PSEs of selling. It invited competitive bidding through an open market towards the enterprise value of the company.
The Expressions of Interest (EoI) were invited on January 25 last year. In response, 3 bids were received and the Reserve Price has subsequently approved Rs. 5616.97 crore. Among the three companies namely Jindal Steel, JSW Steel, the highest bids were offered by Tata Steel.
This is the first instance of privatization of a public sector steel manufacturing enterprise in India. The success of the transaction is a win-win situation for all, claimed a senior officer of the Finance Ministry. “The biggest advantage of privatization will be to the local economy of the region as the strategic buyer will be able to revive a closed plant, bring in modern technology, best managerial practices and make an infusion of fresh capital, which will help in augmenting the capacity of the plant,” the officer claimed.