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Report: Jindal Steel may off-load stake in Oman unit to cut debt

Jindal Steel & Power Ltd. could off-load a significant stake in its Oman unit, Jindal Shadeed Iron and Steel LLC, to slash its debt, Mint reported Dec. 21, citing two people aware of the development.

According to one of the sources, Jindal Steel lenders have recently completed a valuation of the Oman operations and "a sell side mandate is expected soon."

"The company is keen to divest a large minority stake for now but will eventually sell out completely if there is a good offer, and there have been some informal talks with a sovereign fund," the source added.

A company spokesperson, however, said there are currently no sale plans for the unit.

In May, Managing Director Ravi Uppal said the company was in discussions to off-load certain noncore assets to raise about 30 billion Indian rupees, in a bid to trim down its liabilities by over 35% to under 300 billion rupees in the next four years.

The company acquired Shadeed Iron and Steel Co. LLC for US$464 million and later invested over US$800 million in a 2 million-tonne-per-annum integrated steel plant, according to the report.

In October, Bloomberg News reported that the New Delhi-based company failed to make interest payments, due Sept. 30, on 11 different nonconvertible debentures.

As of Dec. 20, US$1 was equivalent to 68.04 Indian rupees.