Partha Chatterjee to head Haldia Petrochemicals

A marathon round of meeting of the board of directors of the beleagured Haldia Petrochemicals Ltd (HPL) was held here on Tuesday, which saw the appointment of the state's Industry Minister Partha Chatterjee as the company's chairman, even as three directors, belonging to The Chatterjee Group (TCG), the other main promoter of the joint venture company, opposed the move. The meeting also took note of the notice received from the International Chamber of Commerce which has received a request from TCG for initiating arbitration proceedings over reneging on contracts. The notice was received by the company recently.

All the 15 board members were present at the meeting. Purnendu Chatterjee, Chairman of TCG, who had been the ad hoc chairman for the last nine months, was appointed Deputy Chairman.

Mr. Partha Chatterjee said that HPL would be a board-managed company as it was not the business of the government to run businesses. This is the first time, since its inception in 2001, that a minister will head HPL, the country's second largest petrochemical company.

The meeting decided to convert Rs.128 crore of HPL's Rs.2,200-crore debt in to equity. The board is hopeful that this would help stave off a possible mandatory reference to the BIFR at end March 2012, as a potentially sick company 50 per cent of whose net worth has been eroded. HPL's loss in the nine-months ended December 2011 has topped Rs.700 crore. Its peak net worth stands at Rs.2,844 crore.

The meeting also discussed new projects such as the Butiene-I project for which a Rs.200-crore investment would be needed. The board okayed a proposal to ring-fence the project by hiving it off as a special purpose vehicle. It was decided that The West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation, an equity holder in HPL, may be offered preference equity in the SPV. The company said that talks with licensors for the value-added project had reached an advanced stage.

Today's meeting also approved HPL's accounts from 2004-05 to 2010-11 which will now be sent to the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG).

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Printable version | Mar 7, 2021 12:28:58 AM |

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