It is learnt that a fresh set of dates - February 12 and 13 - has been finalised for another round of meeting.

Kohinoor Mandal

Kolkata, Feb. 8

THE West Bengal Government and The Chatterjee Group, the two main promoters of Haldia Petrochemicals Ltd, are yet to take any significant step to sort out their differences over the induction of IndianOil as an equity partner in the company.

The Principal Bench of Company Law Board (CLB) headed by the CLB chairman, Mr S. Balasubramanium, had asked the two to resolve their differences after hearing the matter on September 28, last year. However, till date the two sides have failed to take any significant step towards the problem.

Sources said that both the West Bengal Government and The Chatterjee Group had decided to nominate representatives and form a task force, which would discuss the contentious issue and work out a solution.

"We have failed to hold even one constructive meeting among ourselves, leave alone nominating our representatives for the task force. Several dates were fixed but not a meeting worth mentioning took place," sources said.

The idea of the task force was accepted by both sides as they felt that it would be better than each side placing their individual compromise proposals. After the initial impromptu discussions between the two sides, the process now seems to have lost steam.

Moreover, with the Assembly elections round the corner in West Bengal, sources feel that a resolution of the problem may now get even more delayed.

It is learnt that a fresh set of dates - February 12 and 13 - has been finalised for another round of meeting between The Chatterjee Group and the West Bengal Government. "Let us hope that something concrete emerges from it," sources said.

Meanwhile, the Chairman of Haldia Petrochemicals, Mr Tarun Das, has announced that the company is doing well and is in a position to pay dividends to its shareholders.

A representative of The Chatterjee Group agreed with Mr Das, but added that the performance would have been better if the company had not faced the dispute among its two principal shareholders.

"It is still a strong company with extremely good financials. Fund flow is good and it is certainly in a position to pay back to its shareholders," sources said.

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Haldia Petro: TCG meets Bengal Minister for out-of-court settlement
Haldia Petro: TCG, Bengal Govt resolve to sort out issues
Chatterjee Group charges Bengal Govt, HPL with mismanagement

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated February 9, 2006)
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