Government may ask SAIL to operate Monnet Ispat till buyer finalised

By: | Published: March 5, 2017 3:44 PM

The government is examining the possibility of country's largest steel maker SAIL undertaking 'operation and maintenance' of ailing Monnet Ispat & Energy Ltd till the lenders are able to find a buyer for the company.

A consortium led by SBI, sources said, has taken over the debt-ridden company and is looking for a buyer as part of the strategic debt restructuring.

The government is examining the possibility of country’s largest steel maker SAIL undertaking ‘operation and maintenance’ of ailing Monnet Ispat & Energy Ltd till the lenders are able to find a buyer for the company. According to a government official, however, it may not be possible for Steel Authority of India to take over MIEL which is up for sale but it would definitely explore the option of maintaining the steel plant.

The lenders have already sought bids from prospective buyers but have not received good response. Only JSW Steel has expressed keenness to take over MIEL which is facing debt problem.

A consortium led by SBI, sources said, has taken over the debt-ridden company and is looking for a buyer as part of the strategic debt restructuring.

“Recently, it was asked whether SAIL is interested in taking Monnet if bank takes all the equity. Since they (lenders) have got just one bid they are exploring various options. As a result a few days back they also approached the Steel Ministry,” the official said.

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“SAIL will not take over. SAIL has not to even buy. It will not even bid. It may just do the operation and maintenance,” the official said, adding that “right now they (lenders) have asked the Steel Ministry whether SAIL can operate and maintain. Banks don’t know how to run steel…So it is asking SAIL”.

The company had earlier said that discussions with the investor are confined to lenders who own 51 per cent stake, and the management is not involved at this stage.

Monnet Ispat has a de-risked business portfolio that encompasses manufacturing and marketing of sponge iron, steel and ferro alloys. The company is also engaged in mining of minerals like coal and iron ore.

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