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Tuesday, Jan 20, 2004

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Haldia Petro lenders' meet on Jan 22

Our Bureau

Kolkata , Jan. 19

A MEETING of Haldia Petrochemical Ltd's (HPL) lenders has been convened on January 22 by the CDR (Corporate Debt Restructuring) Standing Forum, paving the way for optimism regarding the conclusion of the debt restructuring process.

The meeting is slated to be attended by the executive directors of HPL's battery of lenders. The process, kicked off under the Reserve Bank of India's time-bound CDR mechanism, had a zero date of October 22, 2003. It was to be completed within 60 days by December 22. However, it missed that deadline and is currently on a month-long extension.

Earlier, two of the company's key promoters — Dr Purnendu Chatterjee of Chatterjee Petrochem (Mauritius) and Dr Sabyasachi Sen, Industry Secretary to the West Bengal Government, had held a meeting with the lenders on January 5, "where the board contours of the proposed package" were agreed upon.

Its third promoter — the Tatas are slated to exit the company, retaining only a portion of their 14 per cent holding as a `special gesture'. One of the options discussed at that meeting was an initial public offering by HPL, which would be underwritten by Dr Chatterjee. The Rs 5,700-crore company has a debt-equity ratio of 4.5:1 and an annual debt service burden of Rs 500 crore.

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