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Induction furnaces will have to follow BIS standards to survive: Steel Ministry

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Stating that there will be absolutely zero tolerance on the quality front, steel ministry has warned small induction furnaces to strictly adhere to the BIS standards or else they might have to shut shops simply because they would not be able to sell their products in the market.

There are around 1,128 induction furnaces in the country which use sponge iron or melting scrap to produce semi-finished steel. Of India’s 125 MTPA steel production capacity, 29% or 36 MnT comes through the induction furnace route.

"Induction furnaces will have to follow the BIS standards, if they have to compete and if they want to sell their products in the market,” said a senior steel ministry official on sidelines of a conference conducted by steel ministry on giving preference to domestically produced steel.

Though 33 steel products have already been notified under the mandatory quality certification mark scheme of BIS, actual implementation of these standards by the industry, particularly by the secondary manufacturers, is limited, resulting in large-scale production, imports and use of sub-standard material, putting infrastructure and public safety at risk.


Since most of the induction furnace units lack in-house quality testing facilities, the government proposed to set up quality testing facilities in steel hubs and further strengthen the already established facilities to cater to possible rise in demand.

Induction furnace route finds a prominent place in India’s steel-making since it has a number of advantages. It does not require coking coal, for which India mostly relies on imports. The capital cost is also less and does not required large land parcel to set up a unit.

However, the induction furnace route lacks refining capabilities. The steel ministry, which lays a lot of emphasis on secondary steel firms to achieve its ambitious target of taking country’s steel-making capacity to 300 MnT by 2030-31, has already decided to take appropriate steps to promote development of consistent and cost-effective refining methods in order to produce high quality steel.

Secondary manufacturers contribute around 51% of India’s annual steel production. BIS standard is applicable to all products, be it imports or produced domestically by the integrated firms or small units. These 33 products account for 75% of India’s total steel production. Sources said the number might also go up in the coming days.

Source: Steelmint.com

Amplus plans acquisition of solar power firm Kiran Energy

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New Delhi: Amplus Energy Solutions Pvt. Ltd, which has offered to sell solar power at a record-low tariff, has evinced interest in acquiring Kiran Energy Solar Power Pvt. Ltd, said three people aware of the development.

Amplus, backed by US private equity (PE) firm I Squared Capital, is interested in the acquisition given the high electricity tariffs awarded in some of the power purchase agreements (PPAs) signed by Kiran Energy.

Mint couldn’t ascertain the value of the potential deal.

“I Squared Capital through Amplus is interested in acquiring Kiran Energy,” a person aware of the development said, requesting anonymity.

Mint reported on 6 December about the owners of Kiran Energy deciding to sell the company outright after earlier attempts to divest a majority stake failed.

I Squared Capital is a PE firm focused on energy, utilities and transport in North America and Europe, and on high-growth economies. The firm, whose founders include ex-Morgan Stanley banker Gautam Bhandari, has been investing in Indian infrastructure projects.

“Kiran Energy has built a portfolio of around 83 megawatt (MW). The asset is up for sale with a premium expected by the sellers primarily on account of the high tariff for some of the PPAs signed by Kiran Energy,” said a second person, who also didn’t wish to be identified.

A third person aware of the development, who also requested anonymity, said discussions on the deal were “still in early stages.”

PE funds Argonaut Ventures, New Silk Route (NSR) and Bessemer Venture Partners (BVP) own nearly 80% of the Mumbai-based firm. Founder Ardeshir Contractor and Alan Rosling, a former Tata Sons executive director and a few others own the rest.

Sanjeev Aggarwal, managing director and chief executive of Amplus Energy, declined to comment. Contractor, managing director and chief executive officer, Kiran Energy, speaking over the phone, denied “any talks with Amplus Energy regarding acquisition.”

He didn’t respond to specific queries emailed last week.

Gautam Bhandari and an external spokesperson for NSR declined comment.

Queries emailed to BVP India remained unanswered. Argonaut Ventures and Rosling couldn’t be reached immediately.

Amplus, in June last year, acquired US solar power developer SunEdison Inc.’s roof-top solar power assets in India.

With Amplus looking to increase its present portfolio of 60MW to 150-200MW by June 2018, I Squared Capital has committed to Amplus that it would invest in assets worth Rs1,000 crore.

Experts say consolidation is the way forward in India’s clean energy space. “Consolidation is going to happen. The size and the scale of projects in the sector has changed over the last two years. We are witnessing that established large portfolios are attracting further capital and as a result the small projects would have to exit as they would find it difficult to attract growth capital,” said Manish Aggarwal, partner and head of corporate finance at KPMG in India.

Marquee deals in the Indian clean energy space include Tata Power Co. Ltd buying the entire 1.1 gigawatt renewable energy portfolio of Welspun Energy Ltd for $1.4 billion and Hyderabad-based Greenko Energies Pvt. Ltd, backed by Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC Holdings Pte. and Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, acquiring SunEdison’s Indian assets for $392 million last year.

NTPC to buy assets of Chhabra power plant in Rajasthan

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State-owned NTPC has signed a “non-binding” deal to buy the existing and upcoming assets of the Chhabra thermal power plant, owned and operated by the Rajasthan Rajya Vidyut Utpadan Nigam Ltd (RRVUNL), a Rajasthan government undertaking.

RRVUNL has been looking for buyers for three years. The memorandum of understanding (MoU) between NTPC and RRVUNL was signed on Wednesday and the former announced it on the exchanges on Thursday morning. While the cost of the plant is estimated at around Rs 15,000 crore, NTPC will currently pay around Rs 5,000 crore for the operational 1,000 Mw, according to sources.

The cost and power tariffs of the upcoming two units of 660 Mw each would be decided later, said NTPC executives. This is the first deal of the year for both the conventional power sector and NTPC. NTPC will restrict itself to buying the power assets and not the coal blocks attached to the power plant. The Parsa East and Kanta Basan coal blocks in Chhattisgarh were allocated to RRVUNL in the e-auction of coal mines in 2015. RRVUNL won the coal blocks by indicating that the Chhabra power plant was the end-user of those mines.

The coal mines are operational and RRVUNL last year appointed Adani Mining as their Mining Development Operator (MDO).

“The coal blocks are not part of the deal but NTPC would source coal from these mines as RRVUNL would sell the coal,” a senior NTPC executive said.

NTPC was roped in after no private player agreed to buy the plant in accordance with the terms the state government had set, sources said.

“The discussion with NTPC was on for some months and the deal culminated only recently. The move is in line with the organic growth of the company,” a senior executive said.

A non-binding MoU allows the parties in the deal to modify the terms later. The deal does not stand up in court.

NTPC in its statement said: “The organisations shall execute Binding Agreements based on the detailed due diligence being underway.”

For allowing cost pass-through and tariff determination by the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC), NTPC will have to enter into a definitive agreement with RRVUNL.

Source: livemint

JSW Cement buying majority stake in Shiva Cement, makes open offer

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JSW Cement Ltd, part of the billionaire Sajjan Jindal-led JSW Group, has made an open offer to acquire a 32% stake in Shiva Cement Ltd from public shareholders as part of a plan to buy a controlling stake in the Odisha-based company.

JSW Cement made the open offer at Rs 14 per share of Shiva Cement, totaling as much as Rs 87.36 crore ($13 million). The offer comes after the cement maker agreed to buy a 35.6% stake from Shiva Cement’s promoters for Rs 97.24 crore.

This is the first acquisition by JSW Group in the cement sector and comes after it struck a number of takeover deals in the power sector. The group last year agreed to purchase a 500-megawatt thermal power plant from Jaiprakash Power Ventures Ltd for Rs 2,700 crore. It had previously agreed to acquire two hydroelectric plants from Jaiprakash Power for as much as Rs 9,275 crore and a 1,000-MW thermal power plant from Jindal Steel & Power Ltd for up to Rs 6,500 crore.

The latest deal will help JSW Cement increase its capacity. It has annual production capacity of 8.76 million tonnes at its three plants in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra.

Shiva Cement had been looking for a buyer for almost a year. It had expanded its annual capacity from 1.32 lakh tonnes to 1.98 lakh tonnes last fiscal year but couldn’t start commercial production because of a shortage of working capital, according to its annual report.

As a result, its depreciation costs surged and adversely affected its profit. The company was hurt also due to a decline in industrial investment and infrastructure spending, which reduced demand growth below 5%, the annual report said.

Shiva Cement’s net profit slumped to Rs 1.02 lakh for the year through March 2016 from Rs 2.5 crore the year before. Gross revenue increased to Rs 78.34 crore from Rs 75.33 crore.

In an interview to television channel CNBC-TV18, Shiva Cement managing director RP Gupta said the company had plans to expand its plant but the project could not be completed due to multiple reasons. “Therefore, we thought to exit so that the company can grow and all the stakeholders are benefited,” he added.

He also said that cement maker ACC Ltd, which holds about 13% of Shiva Cement, could exit in the future.

Consolidation in cement sector

The cement sector saw a number of deals last year, as consolidation activity increased after the government amended the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 to allow transfer of captive mining leases not granted through auction.

Last year, LafargeHolcim Ltd sold Lafarge India Pvt Ltd to Nirma Ltd for $1.4 billion (Rs 9,400 crore) including debt, in a deal that will complete the India leg of the global merger of French cement giant Lafarge and Swiss building materials group Holcim

Early last year, UltraTech Cement Ltd struck a mega deal to acquire almost the entire cement business of debt-ridden Jaiprakash Associates Ltd at an enterprise value of Rs 15,900 crore ($2.4 billion).

In another attempt to reduce debt, Jaiprakash Associates sold a 74% stake in its Bhilai unit for Rs 1,450 crore to CK Birla Group company Orient Cement Ltd. Orient Cement also agreed to acquire a cement grinding unit of Jaiprakash Power Ventures for Rs 500 crore.

In February last year, Reliance Infrastructure Ltd sold its cement unit to Birla Corp for Rs 4,800 crore ($710 million).

Source: www.vccircle.com

China ups the ante, to build steel plant in Gwadar as part of CPEC

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NEW DELHI: China announced its plans to set up a steel factory in Gwadar city as part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

Chinese ambassador to Pakistan Zhao Lijian confirmed the news at a conference organised by an Islamabad based think-tank and attended by top diplomats, academicians and mediapersons.

"The steel factory will be three times bigger than the free economic zone being set up in the Gwadar city, and an agreement in this regard between China and Pakistan will be signed soon," said Zhao, as quoted by Pakistan's Nation.

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is a multi-billion dollar undertaking to lay out an overland route which will facilitate trade and communication between the two nations through the construction of highways, railways, and pipelines. A number of infrastructure development projects are being carried out under the umbrella of the CPEC.

At the conference, Zhao went on to say that the steel factory would be instrumental in furthering the region's growth and development as part of the CPEC project.

The Chinese ambassador also discussed some other socio-economic ventures in Gwadar. These include energy projects, a new international airport, a highway and a hospital to resolve Pakistan's crippling power-supply shortfalls, and to establish a nationwide network of logistical infrastructure.

Zhao said that "industrial cooperation was the fourth pillar of the CPEC initiative" and both the countries would discuss it at the next meeting of the Joint Cooperation Committee, which is the principal decision-making body behind the project.

The progress in CPEC, which will link southern Pakistan to western China, is being warily monitored by India as the route passes through the Gilgit-Baltistan region in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir.

With an investment of $51 billion, the bulk of which has been supplied by China, CPEC is a part of Chinese President Xi Jinping's Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Maritime Silk Road projects, that seek to deepen China's economic cooperation with a number of Asian and European countries.

Source: timesofindia.indiatimes.com

Govt may take over Reliance power plant

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With the state power utility showing no interest in renewing the power purchase agreement with the BSES Kochi Pvt Ltd (BKPL), there are chances that the government might take over the thermal power plant set up by Reliance Infrastructure.

Top sources in BKPL revealed that Reliance would not reject any proposal from the government on the takeover of the Naphtha-based 165 MW thermal power plant commissioned in 2001. "The company still wish for the renewal of the power purchase agreement between KSEB and BSES. But, the board and the government are not interested in the same. We don't wish to relocate the plant to anywhere else. Neither the BSES nor the government has so far initiated any formal talks regarding the takeover. But we have given enough hints and it seems the political leadership is more interested in taking over the plant than extending the power purchase agreement," they said.

Senior officials in power department too confirm that the plant's takeover was suggested by the board in 2015, but no policy decision was taken by the then UDF government. The 15-year power purchase agreement with BSES had come to a close on October 2015.

Though the UDF government gave in principal approval for the extension of the power purchase pact, the unions argued against the deal by saying that the board had given Rs 1,490 crore to BKPL as fixed cost from 2001 to 2015.

"The government may think about the takeover on the ground that the state needs a good mix of power generating units to ensure minimum sustainability. Also, it would not be wise to close down a plant that can be converted into a gas-based one. Such issues are to be addressed before jumping into conclusions," government sources said.

Source: timesofindia.indiatimes.com

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