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Wednesday, Mar 27, 2002

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Pechiney to fully own Indian joint venture -- Plans Rs 70-cr alumina complex in Orissa

Ambarish Mukherjee

NEW DELHI, March 26

THE French aluminium major, Pechiney, has firmed up plans to take the wholly-owned subsidiary route to undertake mining of bauxite in Orissa.

For this, the company's existing joint venture company — Pechiney Aluminium Resources India Private Ltd (PARIPL) — will be converted into a 100-per cent subsidiary.

The company has recently announced plans to explore the possibility of setting up a one-million-tonne capacity alumina mining and refinery complex at an estimated investment of Rs 70 crore in Orissa.

Currently, the French multinational owns 99 per cent of the Indian subsidiary formed in 1998, while the rest is held by resident shareholders, Mr Jamnadas Thakker and Mr Bijesh Thakker.

As per the agreement reached by Pechiney and its Indian partners, Aluminium Pechiney SA and Compagnie de Participation Industrielle will acquire the stakes held by Mr Jamnadas Thakker and Mr Bijesh Thakker respectively, following which the Indian outfit will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of the French multinational.

The Indian company currently has a capital base of about Rs 10 lakh. This would be raised in phases depending upon the progress in the company's Indian plans, informed sources said.

Sources familiar with the company's developments told Business Line that the plan to explore the possibility of setting up a one-m.t. greenfield alumina complex would be carried out through this subsidiary for which the company had already applied for bauxite mining rights in Orissa and also initiated the process of obtaining other mandatory clearances. Following the approvals, exploration work will be undertaken.

With its operations spread over 50 countries with a 35,000-strong workforce, the Pechiney group has an annual turnover of more than Rs 47,300 crore (Euro 11 billion) and is the fourth largest producer of primary alumina in the world.

Pechiney, which was a French state-owned company till 1995, provided the technological licence and assistance when the Indian Government set up National Aluminium Company in January 1981.

The company recently received the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) approval for transferring the resident shareholding in favour of the French partners.

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