SAIL consortium may invest Rs375 crore in Afghan mines

Apart from SAIL, NMDC, Rashtriya Ispat Nigam, JSW Steel, Jindal Steel & Power, JSW Ispat and Monnet Ispat are the members of the consortium

State-run Steel Authority of India (SAIL)-led consortium is likely to make an initial investment of Rs375 crore for detailed exploration of three iron ore mines bagged at Hajigak in Afghanistan.

"The consortium will have to first establish the reserves through a detailed exploration. Around Rs 375 crore investment is needed for that. The decision on putting up a steel plant will be taken only after satisfactory outcome of the detailed exploration," sources in the know said.

A consortium of seven Indian steel makers, both public and private, led by SAIL bagged the development rights to mine in three iron ore blocks - B, C and D - at Hajigak in the Central Bamiyan province of Afghanistan.

"The Hajigak iron ore deposits consists of four blocks – A, B, C & D. The estimated iron ore reserves is approx. 484, 930 and 357 million tonnes in A, B & C blocks respectively while D block has small reserves," SAIL said in a statement.

The fourth block has been given to a Canadian firm, Kilo Gold Company. Hajigak mines, located across the Hindu Kush Mountains, between Bamyan and Maidan Wardak provinces, are known for its rich source of iron ore.

The source said that though the consortium members do not raise any doubt on the authenticity of the estimates, as per the industry practice, they will carry out the detailed exploration themselves before putting in more funds on mines.

"After gauging the estimated reserves, consortium members will decide on putting up a steel plant in Afghanistan. But, nothing has been finalised on it as yet, simply because that is not possible until one is sure about reserves," he said.
"The setting up of the steel plant will also depend upon the outcome of the techno-feasibility study on the proposed plant," he added.

However, at the same time, he said that the members were keen on setting up a steel plant in Afghanistan as the country is in need of huge quantity of steel for sprucing up its beleagured infrastructure.

Apart from SAIL, NMDC, Rashtriya Ispat Nigam, JSW Steel, Jindal Steel & Power, JSW Ispat and Monnet Ispat are the members of the consortium.
In the late afternoon, SAIL was trading at around Rs80.60 per share on the Bombay Stock Exchange, 4.10% down from the previous close.

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ConAgra buys 3.67% more in Agro Tech

ConAgra will continue to work with Agro Tech's management team to expand its business and investment in India

Consumer food products marketer Agro Tech Foods (ATFL) said US-based processed food major ConAgra Foods had increased its stake in the company by 3.67% for Rs 51.82 crore.

"ConAgra Foods has bought 8,93,465 shares [3.67%] of Agro Tech Foods Ltd from a third party for a price of Rs51.82 crore," ATFL said in a statement.

ConAgra earlier held 48.11% stake, or 1,17,23,154 shares, in AFTL -- owners of refined oil brand Sundrop, it added. After the additional stake purchase, its holding will go up to 51.77%.

"Expanding our international business is a key part of our strategic plan and India represents an attractive growth market for ConAgra Foods," ConAgra Foods Chief executive officer Gary Rodkin said.

ConAgra will continue to work with Agro Tech's management team to expand its business and investment in India, he added.

ATFL is in the business of marketing food and food ingredients to consumers and institutional customers. The company has also expanded its brand portfolio to products such as Sundrop peanut butter and Act II popcorn among others.
ConAgra Foods is one of North America's leading food companies, with brands like Banquet, Orville Redenbacher's, Peter Pan, Reddi-wip, Slim Jim, Snack Pack, etc.

In the late afternoon, AFTL was trading at around Rs414.50 per share on the Bombay Stock Exchange, 1.09% up from the previous close.

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Ashok Piramal, IDFC Project Equity & SNC-Lavalin to develop PPP road

On consummation of the transaction, post receipt of regulatory approvals, PRIL will have 51% equity interest in this joint venture, IIF 39% and SNC-Lavalin 10%

Ashok Piramal Group (APG), India Infrastructure Fund (IIF) and Canada’s SNC-Lavalin have entered into a tripartite arrangement to develop, own, construct and operate public-private partnership (PPP) road projects in India through a joint venture company, Piramal Roads Infra Pvt Ltd (PRIL).

PRIL is a group company of APG and IIF is managed by IDFC Project Equity, a subsidiary company of IDFC Ltd. PRIL was formed by APG as part of the group’s initiative to pursue opportunities in the infrastructure sector. It is currently developing a road project in Madhya Pradesh. On consummation of the transaction, post receipt of regulatory approvals, PRIL will have 51% equity interest in this joint venture, IIF 39% and SNC-Lavalin 10%.

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