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Haldia Petrochemicals unlikely to participate in Basell acquisition

Our Bureau

Kolkata , May 18

HALDIA Petrochemicals Ltd is unlikely to participate in The Chatterjee Group-led consortium's acquisition of Basell NV, according to the West Bengal Commerce and Industries Minister, Mr Nirupam Sen. The West Bengal Government, which is a principal stakeholder in the project, is not in agreement with the proposal.

Speaking on the sidelines of a workshop on restructuring PSUs here on Wednesday, Mr Sen said: "According to some preliminary estimates, HPL requires to raise close to Rs 2,500 crore for participating in the consortium for Basell. As a majority stake-holder in the project, we would think twice before approving such a proposal," he said.

"HPL has just been out of a crisis and we would not like to take any step which may endanger its financial health," he said.

"Acquiring Basell is nowhere in our (State Government) priority list. We are not concerned as to how TCG group is arranging the finances for such an acquisition. We have nothing to do with that. In the State Government we want to ensure that HPL continues to be in good health and that it prospers. We are not sure how participating in Basell would serve that purpose."

Admitting that there are major differences of opinion between the State Government and the TCG on HPL, he said, "We would like to include IOC in Haldia Petrochemicals. IOC has also forwarded a payment of Rs 150 crore two and a half months ago. However, HPL is yet to encash the payment."

Mr Sen said he expected an early solution to the stalemate.

"We had a prolonged stalemate over CDR (debt restructuring). But this is business and there is no quick solution." He, however, added that the State Government had so far extended all cooperation to TCG for running HPL.

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