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Foreign steel players likely to join public firm SPVs

The government is likely to invite foreign steel makers to join the special purpose vehicles (SPVs) being floated by state-run steel firms for setting up greenfield steel projects in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Karnataka.

The move comes amid a growing realisation within the steel ministry that roping in foreign steel-makers is crucial in executing the ‘Make in India’ programme and fructify the official target of producing 300 million tonne (MT) of steel by 2025.

Seeking to fast track implementation of proposed projects by foreign firms like ArcelorMittal and Posco, which together have promised to invest nearly Rs 1,00,000 crore, the steel ministry is of the view that reasons for which these projects have remained stuck can be resolved by their participation in the SPV route.

In the SPV route, PSUs under the steel ministry like Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) and iron ore producer NMDC Limited are preparing to join hands with the mining corporations of three states to set up greenfield projects and explore mineral resources with a total envisaged investment of over Rs 50,000 crore.

Through the SPVs these corporations would be given 49 per cent stake, the central PSUs would hold the remaining 51 per cent and bring in latest technology and trained manpower to execute the projects. “We already have these foreign companies trying to join hands with our PSUs for different projects. Arcelor Mittal has joined hands with SAIL to set up a plant for producing auto grade steel in India,” a senior steel ministry official said.

He reasoned that for South Korean company Posco, which has been struggling to set up a 10 MT plant in Orissa, it made sense to join the SPVs floated by SAIL or NMDC and execute their projects.

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