Sets May 10 as deadline for submission of proposals for the Rs.2,500-cr. unit

Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd. (RINL), corporate entity of Visakhapatnam Steel Plant, will set up a high-end seamless tube mill at an estimated cost of Rs.2,500 crore by entering into a joint venture with an Indian or a foreign company.

The Navratna company, which sought expression of interest (EoI) from prospective investors for producing wide range of products such as seamless pipes and tubes required for energy, gas, oil and water sectors, has set May 10 as the deadline for submission of proposals.

The seamless tube mill will have a capacity to manufacture four lakh tonnes annually with a provision to expand it further. RINL will offer its land on a long-term lease and explore investment as well as providing technical know-how with its joint venture partner.

Sources told The Hindu that RINL in the past had informal talks with Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited and ONGC to explore establishing the plant by partnering with them. When contacted, a senior official said they had already conducted a detailed project report and market appraisal, and would like to ascertain the demand in India as well as abroad before striking a deal on the seamless tube mill project.

At present, the company specialises in producing integrated long range products at its Visakhapatnam facility.

Expansion

The steel plant recently completed expansion from three to 6.3 million tonnes at a cost of Rs.12,300 crore, which it raised through internal accruals. RINL is on a mission to achieve 16-20 million tonne capacity by 2020.

The company, which is scheduled to go for listing after its IPO bid was put off due to uncertainty in the market, has embarked on expanding capacity by four million tonnes with a total investment of Rs.22,000 crore. At present, capital repairs and modernisation of blast furnaces are on at a cost of Rs.5,000 crore to take the capacity nearer to eight million tonnes.