Privatisation: After Air India, NINL ownership too goes to Tata group, handover done

Tata Steel Long Products (TSLP) had in January emerged as the winning bidder, putting in bids worth Rs 12,100 crore for loss-making NINL

New Delhi: The privatisation of Neelachal Ispat Nigam Ltd (NINL) was completed on Monday, with its handover to Tata group firm TSLP, the Finance Ministry said. NINL is the second successful privatisation by the current government. Incidentally, Air India, the first company on the privatisation list, too was bought by Tata Group.

Tata Steel Long Products (TSLP) had in January emerged as the winning bidder, putting in bids worth Rs 12,100 crore for loss-making NINL, which is a joint venture of 4 CPSEs — MMTC, NMDC, BHEL, MECON — and 2 Odisha government state PSUs — OMC and IPICOL.

"NINL Strategic Disinvestment transaction has been completed today with the transfer of 93.71 percent shares of the joint venture partners to the Strategic Buyer, M/s Tata Steel Long products Ltd," the ministry said.

The Rs 12,100 crore has been utilised for settlement of dues of employees, operational creditors, secured financial creditors and sellers (operational and financial dues) and for equity of selling shareholders, as per the share purchase agreement.

MMTC was the largest shareholder in NINL holding 49.78 per cent stake, NMDC (10.10 per cent), BHEL (0.68 percent), and MECON (0.68 per cent). Besides, 2 Odisha government PSUs — held 20.47 percent and 12 percent, respectively, in NINL.

The share purchase agreement was signed on March 10, following which the buyer, NINL and the six selling shareholders worked towards satisfying a set of conditions defined in the SPA, including certification of operational creditor's dues, employees' dues, sellers' operational and financial dues.

"These conditions have since been met to mutual satisfaction," the ministry said.

TSLP's bid was more than double the reserve or base price of Rs 5,616.97 crore for NINL.

Since the government does not hold any equity in the company, the sale proceeds would not accrue to the exchequer.

Meanwhile, BHEL in a BSE filing said, it "has today successfully sold and transferred 0.68 per cent of the issued and paid-up equity share capital of NINL to Tata Steel Long Products Limited (TSLP), the successful bidder selected through the two-stage auction procedure involving a competitive bidding process, run under the aegis of Department of Investment & Public Asset Management (DIPAM), for a consideration determined in accordance with and subject to the terms of the Share Purchase Agreement, Escrow Agreement and other related ancillary agreements (Definitive Agreements)".

NINL's 1.1 million tonne a year capacity steel plant at Kalinganagar in Odisha was shut in March 2020 due to continued losses.

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