Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Thursday, Sep 30, 2004
Haldia Petro eyes overseas debt markets to raise funds In talks with Standard & Poor's for assessment
Kolkata , Sept. 29
RIDING on a maiden net profit of Rs 100 crore in the last financial year, 2003-04, Haldia Petrochemicals Ltd has started looking at overseas debt markets for raising funds.
The company has already initiated discussions with rating agency Standard & Poor's for an assessment.
The focus on foreign debt has been triggered by Haldia Petrochemical's need to upgrade its financial profile, say sources. However, the exact nature of the company's requirement or the quantum of funds it would like to mobilise is not known at this stage.
"Haldia Petrochemicals may decide to test foreign waters to improve its financials. The idea is to source money at relatively cheap rates and other terms that are reasonable," said a source aware of the development.
Standard & Poor's, which is known to have accorded great significance to Haldia Petrochemical's potential, has sent senior functionaries for the discussions. The only other local corporate it visited was ITC Ltd.
The need to work on a foreign debt issue has come up at a crucial time for Haldia Petrochemicals. The company's debt profile has improved substantially in recent times, thanks to an elaborate corporate debt-restructuring programme that was wrapped up a few months ago. The company, it may be recalled, had piled up a debt burden to the tune of several thousand crores.
Nearer home, its senior executives are busy preparing the final nitty-gritty of the initial public offering (IPO) even as the Union Petroleum Ministry is trying to finalise its nominated company for a strategic partnership.
Though GAIL (India) was willing to take up a seven to eight per cent stake in Haldia Petrochemicals by investing Rs 150 crore, their proposal was negated by the Ministry officials.
It now appears that Indian Oil is likely candidate for becoming the strategic partner . However, the amount of investment the oil major would be making is still not finalised.
Haldia Petrochemicals is already known to have mandated SBI Capital Markets and others as its merchant bankers for the proposed IPO, which is widely expected to hit the market by the end of this year.
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