Tata Steel, on Monday, ruled out the possibility of an immediate exit from Dhamra port in Odisha, even as its joint venture partner Larsen and Toubro (L&T) is already looking for buyers to offload its 50 per cent stake.
Asked whether the company was looking to exit the venture in which it held 50 per cent stake, Tata Steel’s Managing Director H. M. Nerurkar replied with a firm `no’.
“L&T is doing it first. We are where we are. They (L&T) are trying to do something. Our board has not yet made up its mind, we have not yet taken it up,” he told reporters here on the sidelines of the two-day International Mineral Processing Congress here.
At the recent annual meeting of the shareholders, L&T Chairman had stated that the company had identified Dhamra Port Company Ltd (DPCL) as a non-core asset and was looking to find a buyer by the end of this fiscal. The port is strategic for Tata Steel and can be used as a gateway for transferring raw materials and finished products from its upcoming 6 million tonne steel plant in Kalinganagar, Odisha. DPCL has been awarded a concession by the Odisha Government to build and operate a port on Dhamra river in Bhadrak district on build, own, operate, share and transfer basis for 34 years, including 4 years for construction.
According to Tata Steel’s annual report for 2011-12, the two promoters of DPCL (Tata Steel and L&T) have pledged their 51 per cent stake with IDBI Trusteeship Services. Located between two major ports, Haldia and Paradip, DPCL is one of the deepest ports of India with a depth of 18 metres, which can accommodate vessels up to 1,80,000 dwt (dead-weight tonnage).
The immediate hinterland of Dhamra port — Odisha, Jharkhand and West Bengal — is rich in mineral resources.