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Tata Power keen to buy Dabhol


Our Bureau

MUMBAI, Aug. 10

THE Tatas are interested in buying Enron's Dabhol power project and "informal talks are on".

Mr Ratan Tata, Chairman of the group's power company Tata Power, today said Tata Power will watch the developments on Enron's Dabhol Power project closely and would ``conceivably think of buying it if it makes sense for us''.

Mr Tata was addressing shareholders of Tata Power at its annual general meeting.

Mr Adi Engineer, Managing Director of the company, later told reporters that any formal discussions on Dabhol Power Co (DPC) would begin only after the legal problems related to the project were solved. ``Informal talks are on,'' he said, without reveali ng who the company was speaking to.

He said Tata Power was waiting in the wings and would take over DPC if there was a ``good opportunity''.

``We cannot forget that there is a valuable asset created and lying there and it cannot be wished away. We have our ears close to the ground. But the subject of stepping in does not arise till the legal tangle is solved,'' Mr Engineer said.

On being questioned about the statement made by the Enron India chief, Mr Wade Cline, on his readiness to sell the Dabhol project for $1 billion, Mr Engineer said he did not have that much money in his wallet.

``The project can be made viable but the Government will have to take tough decisions such as rationalising the consumption of power. They have to tie up the areas with power deficit with those with a surplus,'' Mr Engineer said.

Mr Ratan Tata also said that it could not be forgotten that Dabhol power was expensive power as the project was a gas-based one. ``But someone has to buy the project,'' he said.

PTI reports: Meanwhile, Dabhol Power Co has moved the Bombay High Court requesting an early hearing of its petition filed as per the Supreme Court order of August 6, challenging the State Electricity Regulatory Commission's (MERC's) jurisdiction to adjud icate in the dispute with the Maharashtra State Electricity Board.

The US energy major would also raise additional grounds supporting its petition in the court, including its objection to the MERC member, Mr Jayant Deo, legal sources said.

Pic.:Mr Ratan Tata, Chairman, Tata Power, and Mr A.J. Engineer, Managing Director, at the company's AGM in Mumbai on Friday.

Picture by Paul Noronha

Related links:
Sale of stake best option, says Enron
Dabhol Power goes to PM with equity sale offer

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