ICVL plan on overseas assets' buy likely to crystallise by March

PTI New Delhi | Updated on November 08, 2012 Published on November 08, 2012


International Coal Ventures Ltd (ICVL), a joint venture of five leading metals and mining PSUs, is looking to acquire an overseas mine by March, a top company official said today.

The company is conducting due diligence of four-five properties in Australia, the US, Mozambique, Canada and Indonesia and expects to finalise one deal by the fiscal-end, ICVL Chairman C S Verma, who is also the chief of steel maker SAIL, said here.

“Now is the good time to make acquisitions. We are looking at four-five properties in four-five locations. By the end of this fiscal, this (the deal) should happen,” he said.

He added that the company is looking at acquiring coal mines of 100 million tonnes (MT) reserves to 500 MT.

“We are not looking for an outright acquisition. It is in the range of 10 per cent to majority stake,” Verma further said.

ICVL, which is a consortium of SAIL, Coal India, NTPC, NMDC and Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd (RINL), was formed in 2009 to acquire coal assets abroad. However, it has failed to strike a single deal since its inception.

Verma, however, defended company’s cautious approach by saying that “when the company was formed, the valuations were very high. Look at the valuations now…it is the good time to acquire properties abroad.”

Of late, two of its promoters —Coal India and NTPC — have expressed their desire to exit the company. NTPC, which had announced its intention last year itself to quit the company, has also stopped attending board meetings of ICVL.

The board of Coal India, which had announced its intention in May this year, is expected to make a final decision after a likely meeting with the Chief Executive Officer of ICVL tomorrow.

“There is no communication to us, neither in written nor oral, whether Coal India wants to go out (from ICVL),” Verma said.

SAIL and Coal India, with 28 per cent stakes each, are the two largest shareholders in ICVL, while NTPC, NMDC, and RINL hold 14 per cent each. The ICVL Board, which has financial powers similar to a ‘Navaratna’ PSU, has been aiming to own about 500 million tonnes of coal reserves by 2020.

“We will know the future of ICVL only when Coal India gives its formal views to the Coal Ministry and to us.

Supposing that the Coal Ministry says that they (Coal India) are not interested in continuing, then, yes, we will have to take some steps regarding ICVL’s future,” Steel Secretary, D R S Chaudhary had said last month.

Published on November 08, 2012

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