Discussions are underway between the West Bengal government with Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) to join Haldia Petrochemicals Ltd (HPL) as a strategic investor, as per Telegraphindia. Strategic investors are those who infuse funds into a project for long-term gains and play a role in decision-making. Such investors usually hold a stake of at least 26% in a company. IOC currently holds a minority stake of 8.89% shares in HPL. At present, HPL is in dire need of cash after four consecutive years of losses. The combined losses have been put at Rs 1,940 crore. HPL’s bankers have already written to its promoters to inject fresh equity. At least one of the lenders has specifically suggested that a strategic investor should be brought in but has not named anyone. In recent communications, the IDBI, the lead banker to HPL for term loans, and the SBI, the lead lender for working capital loans, have reminded the promoters of their obligation to bring in Rs 300 crore of equity or long-term non-interest-bearing funds. Some lenders have also refused to provide fresh loans to HPL unless the promoters arrange for more equity.
On the other hand, peeved at not getting majority control of HPL, TCG has filed an arbitration case at an international court against the state over the ownership issue.