SAIL chairman hopeful about ICVL buying coal assets abroad

Kolkata, June 8 (IANS) International Coal Ventures Ltd(ICVL), a consortium of leading steel and mining PSUs, has shortlisted four to five coking coal assets abroad for acquisition and could strike deals soon.

"At least four to five good assets have been shortlisted. Countries are Australia, US and Mozambique," SAIL chairman C S Verma, who also heads ICVL, said here Saturday.

Asked whether any of them would mature this year, Verma said: "There is a very thin line of difference between things getting matured or things not getting matured. Because we have to see the time table, we have to change our diligence from legal angles so all these aspects are being looked into.

"I am quite hopefull something good should happen," he said.

ICVL, which was set up by the steel ministry in 2009 for securing coking coal and thermal coal assets overseas, has a plan to own about 500 million tonnes of met coal reserves by 2019-20.

Asked about the consortium's failure in acquiring assets till date, Verma said, "In three years if you see the degree of volatility of coal prices it was astonishing. Now in the last three months, the prices have stabilised. So this is the best time to acquire coking coal assets outside."

"We have to make best acquisition in terms of prices, in terms of quantity and in terms of quality," he added.

Verma was in the city for the eastern region meeting of Standing Conference of Public Enterprises (SCOPE), an apex professional organisation representing central government public enterprises.

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