Hindujas keen on majority stake in ONGC AP refinery

Written by Corporate Bureau | Chennai, Oct 29 | Updated: Oct 30 2007, 05:39am hrs
The UK-based Hinduja group is keen on picking up a majority stake in the Kakinada refinery (Andhra Pradesh) being pursued by the gas major Oil & Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC).

The group is in talks with ONGC and government officials and we have evinced keen interest in the project, provided we get majority stake in the project, said Gopichand Hinduja, president, Hinduja Group of Companies.

Gopichand Hinduja, who was in Chennai on Monday to witness the joint venture agreement between ALL and Nissan Motor, said, Whichever projects we are pitching in, we want to have majority stake. We want the majority stake in the proposed ONGC refinery to have a management and operational control. The refinery capacity equally should have a capacity not less than 15 million tonne per annum, or otherwise does not make sense for us to get into this project.

We are keen in this project because we dont face any shortage in crude supply. Our group companyGulf Oil Ltdhas entered into a 30-year-long agreement with a foreign crude supplier. We see there is an opportunity for us to pick up majority stake in the project, he said. However, it is too early to decide anything at this point of time, Hinduja added.

To a question on the revival of Visakhapatnam power project, Hinduja said, We got the nod from Andhra Pradesh chief minister and Hinduja Power will revive the project. The project will be of 1,040mw-1,200mw and will be a merchant power project, where 25% of the power generated will be sold to the state government at a price determined by both parties. The remaining 75% will be sold to private parties at an attractive cost. The project is estimated to cost Rs 5,000 crore.

He said, We are ready to offer up to 49% stake in the power company to private parties. But that will be considered at a later stage. The group is also keen on entering the insurance business. We will enter both the life and non-life insurance business with a foreign partner, he added.

According to Ashok Hinduja, chairman, Hinduja Group Companies of India, We have applied for a unified licence for 15 telecom circles in India to have a pan-India presence. Once approved we will finalise the partner and will announce the plans.

On the healthcare side, Ashok Hinduja said, We have tied up with Dubai World Limitless for 50:50 joint venture which will set up hospitals, healthcare related infrastructure and will look into acquisitions. Our target is to have 5,000 beds by 2010.