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Top firms keen on New Mumbai SEZ

Our Bureau

MUMBAI, Nov. 9

THE Tatas, Reliance, Larsen & Toubro, Essar, Videocon and Insignia group of the US are among the 12 parties including four from overseas, who have submitted expressions of interest for setting up the New Mumbai Special Economic Zone.

The first phase of the SEZ project, covering an area of 400 hectares, is estimated to cost $200 million (around Rs 970 crore), Mr Anil Kumar Lakhina, Vice-Chairman and Managing Director, Cidco, the state town development authority, which is promoting the project, said here on Saturday.

The entire project, as envisaged by Cidco, is estimated to cost $1.2 billion, Mr Lakhina told newspersons.

This would be the largest SEZ in the country, which would be 10 times bigger than SEEPZ, the electronic export processing zone in Mumbai, Mr Lakhina said.

Foreign parties include Insignia Financial Group of the US, Meinhardt (Singapore) Pvt Ltd and Suric Trading Pte Ltd of Singapore.

Mr Lakhina said Cidco has just completed an international road show on the SEZ and the response has been quite good. Several foreign companies have shown interest in the zone, he said.

Tata Housing Development Company, Reliance Capital Ltd and Essar Construction and Videocon International are the companies that have submitted the express of interest.

"These parties are serious bidders and are well-known names, which shows the importance of the project. Our objective is to provide internationally competitive and hassle-free business environment," Mr Lakhina said.

The zone, to be known as Navi Mumbai Special Economic Zone (NMSEZ), will develop by a special purpose vehicle (SPV). Cidco will transfer the land development rights to the SPV.

Mr Lakhina said out of the $200-million project cost, around $70 million will come as equity. Cidco will have a minimum equity stake of 26 per cent, he said.

He said parties would make the final bid by January-end, the selection process would begin by February 15, 2003. The selected party would have to develop and market the zone. The Jawaharlal Nehru Port, close to the SEZ, and the proposed international airport at New Mumbai would provide the sea and air link to the zone.

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