Ennore Port gets board nod to go public

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A file photo of the Ennore port.
A file photo of the Ennore port.

The company will seek to divest around 10 per cent of the equity to raise Rs 500 crore.

T.E. Raja Simhan

Chennai, Jan . 20

Ennore Port Ltd (EPL), India's first corporate port, has got in-principle approval from its board to go public. The proposal will now go to the Disinvestment Commission for its approval and also to finalise the quantum of funds to be raised, according to sources.

The Central Government owns 68 per cent and the Chennai Port Trust 32 per cent in EPL.

While EPL may require funds of over Rs 800 crore in the short term to undertake various infrastructure projects, it will seek approval to raise around Rs 500 crore from public. This means, it will divest around 10 per cent of the equity, according to an EPL official. “We do not know the timing of the issue. It all depends on how quickly we get the approval from the Central agencies,” he said.

Speaking at a function here, Mr G.K. Vasan, Union Minister for Shipping, said EPL has lined up 14 projects worth Rs 6,466 crore. The projects include dredging (Rs 440 crore), various terminals, and rail and road connectivity.

EPL, during the fiscal ended March 31, 2010, handled 10.70 million tonnes (mt) of cargo against 11.50 mt in the previous year.

According to the Maritime Agenda 2010-20 released last week by Mr Vasan, Ennore Port traffic is projected to increase to 67.44 mt in 2016-17 and 71.54 mt in 2019-20. Against this projected traffic growth, the port's capacity is expected to increase from the existing 16 mt (as on March 31, 2010) to 73 mt in 2016-17. The major economic activities through which traffic and capacity will rise are development of LNG and coal terminals and expansion of outer harbour stage II and development of container terminal, respectively.

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(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated January 21, 2011)
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