Companies

Vedanta had fulfilled its purpose as a listed entity, so we decided to delist: Anil Agarwal

Richa Mishra New Delhi | Updated on October 16, 2018 Published on October 16, 2018

Anil Agarwal, Chairman, Vedanta Resources

Vedanta Resources had fulfilled its purpose as a listed entity and hence a decision was taken to delist it, mining moghul Anil Agarwal said.

When Agarwal announced delising of the company from the London Stock Exchange (LSE) it created a flutter among the investors fraternity. The firm was delisted from LSE on October 1.

“When we listed we needed to raise money overseas. We raised upto $33 billion and put that money into Indian business. Then we bought a stake in Anglo American, which is LSE-listed — I am the largest shareholder with 21 per cent. So there was no purpose for Vedanta to remain listed because whatever my fund requirement is, I can do from my Indian business now as India’s capital market is deep enough unlike when we had to list to raise funds overseas. So we decided to move on,” Agarwal told BusinessLine.

The delisting was also part of further simplification of organistational structure after the Cairn merger, he pointed out. “Shareholders in Vedanta still have an option to stay invested in Vedanta Ltd which is also listed on NYSE,” he added.

Dumping ground

Agarwal, who was among the top oil honchos who met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday, said he was concerned about India becoming a dumping ground for the world for commodities.

“Why import when we can produce? China and US have imposed trade barriers so you can’t dump there. The countries are either self sufficient or have low demand, so everyone looks at India only to dump oil, gold, coal, and also aluminium scrap — both China and the US have high import duties so all have transferred here,” he pointed out.

He said: “People are looking at short-term monetary gains, they don’t understand the impact. The primary industry is being shut down and there is so much of environmental problem because you are using the scrap and recycling scrap which is hazardous. Aluminium scrap duty is 2.5 per cent against the primary commodity which has a duty of 7.5 per cent. It has to be at par.”

Domestic industry

“We have to take certain measures to make domestic industry more competitive. We are asking for a level-playing field. For example, to revive the economy, we would like all the power plants which are lying idle for want of coal and are NPAs now, allotted coal mines. If this requires changes in the law, do so. Take 20 per cent more than the price at which Coal India gives coal from the private sector, but give the mines to them. Free the economy from excessive government control,” he added.

Quoting Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s concept of less government maximum governance, Agarwal said, “Government has no business to be in business as the Prime Minister has often said. So the government company shares can be divested in the market. So could be the mechanism for public sector banks. However, the disinvestment can be done with a caveat that nobody will have more than 10 per cent of shares and that there will be no retrenchment.”

Agarwal, however, said decisions need to be taken. He said he fails to understand the controversy over the copper plant in Tamil Nadu, as he believes all environmental norms are being followed.

Contract renewal

On the oil and gas business, Agarwal is confident that the contract for Rajasthan oilfields will be renewed shortly. “We want to produce more oil and gas. We want to produce to meet 50 per cent of the oil requirement of the country,” he said.

Published on October 16, 2018
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