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GAIL to raise $100 million through ECBs by June

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Ms Naina Lal Kidwal, COO, HSBC Bank, and Mr Prashanto Banerjee, CMD, GAIL (India) Ltd, at a press conference in Mumbai on Friday. — Paul Noronha

Mumbai , Feb. 20

GAIL (India) plans to raise $100 million (around Rs 450 crore) by June through external commercial borrowings to meet its capital expenditure needs, a senior official said on the sidelines of a news conference announcing sale of Union Government's 10 per cent stake in the company.

"We plan to add 50,000 tonnes through de-bottlenecking to our three lakh-tonne petrochemicals capacity over the next two-three months. Over the next two years, we plan to add a total 1.2 lakh tonnes to its present capacity," Mr J.K. Jain, Director (Finance), told reporters.

The Government wants to sell 8.46 crore shares of GAIL. This could help it raise close to Rs 1,900 crore at the current market price of about Rs 224 per share.

The actual price of the offer will be announced one day before bids open. The offer opens on February 27 and closes on March 5.

The company has lined up a total capital expenditure of Rs 3,850 crore for 2003-04. This includes Rs 2,500 crore on pipelines, Rs 636 crore on new business development and Rs 75 crore on telecom.

"GAIL is working on its proposed national gas grid and investments of up to Rs 20,000 crore will be made in a phased manner," said Mr Prashanto Banerjee, Chairman and Managing Director.

The company is evaluating gas infrastructure projects in Egypt, Iran, Philippines, Turkey and Pakistan, Mr Banerjee said.

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