Thursday, Aug 22, 2002
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By Our Staff Reporter
Mr. Ramachandran, who was here in connection with the annual general meeting of the newly acquired IBP, said, "We are still interested in acquiring HPL. But one party alone cannot make the progress. Moreover interest liabilities of HPL had also gone up which would not have happened had it been resolved earlier".
Asked whether IOC was interested in acquiring 51 per cent stake he said though the company was `open to such a proposal' the same was not mentioned in its original offer to avoid legal problems related to conversion of the status of HPL to a CPSE.
Categorically denying to take any responsibility of its over one year long negotiation to fall through in May this year, he said IOC was always interested to acquire a minimum of 26 per cent stake and management control of the company.
The latter naturally required existing partners to bring down their stakes to a lower level. However, in January this year, the State government reportedly allowed the Chatterjee Group (TCG) to enhance its stake to 51 per cent.
"Naturally, from our side, we found a great difficulty in taking over the management control. It was not there when the negotiation began". Admitting that its plan to storm into the petrochem market by acquiring both IPCL and HPL together has suffered a setback after Reliance cornered the former, he said "the decision to make greenfield investment in naphtha cracker would be taken at an appropriate time". Meanwhile, the company's Rs. 5,000 crore aromatic project at Panipat in Haryana was `going in full blast'.
On the impact of the recent cancellation of petrol pump agencies, he said about 50 per cent of the total belong to IOC. "The impact is substantial. However, we will run the same under some arrangements".
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