The proposal to merge SAIL and Neelachal Ispat Nigam (NINL) has been scrapped as the Commerce Ministry is not willing to give away the country’s largest pig iron producer, sources said.

State-run trading company MMTC, which falls under the administrative control of the Commerce Ministry, is the principal promoter of Neelachal Ispat Nigam (NINL).

“The merger between SAIL and NINL is not going to happen. In a recent meeting with the Department of Disinvestment, the Commerce Ministry has conveyed its message that it does not want to part with NINL,” a source in the steel ministry said.

Representatives of NINL, Steel Authority of India (SAIL) and their respective ministries were present in a meeting convened by the Disinvestment Department.

Talks on SAIL-NINL merger had been going on for over seven years now. A Committee of Secretaries had given the go-ahead to the proposal in July 2005.

“Following their communication, the matter has been put to rest and the steel ministry has also decided not to pursue the matter from here on,” a source said.

NINL runs a 1.1 million tonnes per annum steel plant in Odisha. Industrial Promotion and Investment Corporation of Odisha has also stake in NINL.

Industry sources said that the merger would have been a win-win situation fro both NINL and SAIL. The iron ore mines owned by NINL could prove beneficial for the steel maker. On the other hand, NINL could have been benefited with SAIL’s expertise on running steel mills.

The Commerce Ministry, which was earlier willing to give NINL to any company in the steel ministry, now wants to retain it, sources said, as it sees that NINL has the potential to grow big in the days to come.

(This article was published on July 22, 2012)
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