Thyssen Krupp Sells 83% In Otto India To Poddars

New Delhi, November 28: | Updated: Nov 29 2002, 05:30am hrs
The $16 billion Thyssen Krupp of Germany has sold its 83 per cent stake in Otto India, which manufactures coke oven plants and other related products for the steel industry, to Poddars of Kolkata.

Otto India managing director SK Nanda, when contacted, confirmed that Thyssen Krupp Encoke has exited from the company but declined to give details about the transaction and some labour problems generated by the sale of the company to Poddars.

We will make an official announcement in a few days time. I do not want to comment on anything else, he told FE. Thyssen Krupp Encoke did not respond to an e-mail seeking a confirmation and details of the sale of its stake in the loss making Indian subsidiary. Sources said that a large number of employees at the factory and offices of Otto India have objected to Thyssen Krupps sale of its stake to the Poddars without taking the employees in confidence. The employees hold the balance 17 per cent stake in the company.

In fact, the stake of the employees was around 50 per cent before Thyssen raised its shareholding in the company to 87 per cent by converting loans into equity.

Sources said that the offices and factories of Otto India have been virtually closed for the past few days though Mr Nanda declined to comment when asked for a confirmation. The employees refrain is that they were not consulted by Thyssen while finalising the sale of the company to Poddars since they were also an interested party in taking over the company and restore the past status when employees were majority shareowners.

Ottos turnover has slipped from over Rs 100 crore nearly 7-8 years ago to about Rs 30-40 crore at present while losses for the past three years have accumulated to around Rs 20 crore. Otto India has constructed more than 1,400 coke ovens based on its own designs besides coke oven batteries for steel plants. The company has mechanical and structural works at Kalinga (Orissa) to make pressure vessels, heat exchangers, electro statis precipitators, machinery and custom built equipment.