SAIL to get more teeth with mergers in the offing

New Delhi, March 21 | Updated: Mar 22 2006, 05:30am hrs
The government is set to add further muscle to the countrys largest steel maker Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) by merging two more companies Bharat Refractories Limited and Maharashtra Electrosmelt Ltd into it.

The expert BL Das Committee set up by the steel ministry has recommended that these two companies may be merged with SAIL to further strengthen the downstream activity of the steel major.

Steel ministry sources said that ministry was studying the committees recommendations after which a final proposal of the ministry would be sent to the Cabinet for clearance.

While recommending merger of two steel companies with SAIL, the Das committee has also suggested that individual identity of Manganese Ore India Ltd (MOIL) may be retained. MOIL was also earlier considered for merger with SAIL, a move opposed by the company.

SAIL had suggested merging both MEL and MOIL with itself as a package. MOIL has, however, been reluctant to be merged with SAIL.

According to sources, the expert committee has also recommended that Sponge Oron India Ltd, another PSU under the steel ministry may be considered for merger with NMDC. However, the committee has not agreed on merging Kudremukh Iron Ore Company Ltd with NMDC.

The committee has been silent on merging Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd with SAIL as it was not mandated to so.

If committees recommendations are accepted in toto, it would be a second round of merger in the steel major. Already IISCO has merged with SAIL adding 0.85 mt of steel capacity to SAILs own production of about 13 million tonne.

Sources said that strengthening SAILs operations was important as competition in this sector would increase with international steel majors like POSCO and Mittal Steel all set to start their respective plants here.