Commerce Ministry to look into NINL matter

Bhubaneswar: Worried over little improvement of the Neelachal Ispat Nigam Limited (NINL), Odisha Government today decided to seek intervention of the union commerce ministry into matters relating to the state-run steel plant at Kalinganagar in Jajpur district.

"We will move the union ministry of commerce over the matters relating to NINL," Chief Secretary B K Patnaik told reporters after reviewing the NINL situation. The state owned Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC) and Industrial Promotion & Investment Corporation of Orissa Ltd (IPICOL) are holding 22.33 per cent and 4.06 per cent equity respectively in NINL, a steel firm jointly promoted by MMTC and the state government.

"Though we have been telling MMTC to arrange strategic investor and appoint transaction advisor for the growth of NINL, MMTC failed to respond," he said adding the state needs to seek commerce ministry`s intervention to strengthen NINL.

Meanwhile, state government is seriosuly considering a proposal of OMC to buy out the shares of IPICOL in NINL. "Post rights issue, the equity holdings of Ipicol and OMC stood at 15.29 per cent and 12.32 per cent. Now, OMC has evinced interest in buying Ipicol`s stake in the steel PSU," an official in the industries department said.

Justifying its move to acquire Ipicol`s stake in NINL, OMC in a letter to the government said though the combined equity holding of Ipicol and OMC in NINL is 26.39 per cent, technically, neither can independently exercise the power to restrict passing of a special resolution by the NINL.

This will be a wise proposal if 26.39 per cent shares of NINL are held by either Ipicol or OMC. Since OMC supplies iron ore to NINL from its Daitari mines, it will perhaps be better if shares of NINL held by Ipicol are purchased by OMC so that OMC alone holds entire 26.39 per cent stake, OMC Managing Director Saswat Mishra said in a letter to Ipicol Chairman and Managing Director C J Venugopal.