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Jindal Steel defaults on debenture interest payments

Jindal Steel & Power Ltd. failed to make interest payments, due Sept. 30, on 11 different nonconvertible debentures, indicating falling cash flows against liabilities, Bloomberg News reported Oct. 5, citing a regulatory filing.

The New Delhi-based company did not give a reason for the default, and CEO Ravi Uppal declined to comment on the situation, according to the report.

The company has been considering selling certain noncore assets to raise about 30 billion Indian rupees to pay off debt, which has reached 450 billion rupees with annual interest liabilities of about 30 billion rupees.

Separately, Jindal Group subsidiary Jindal Shadeed Iron & Steel plans to set up a major iron ore pelletizing plant in Oman, the Oman Daily Observer reported Oct. 4, citing CFO Rama Subramanian Chidambaram.

"Availability of natural gas at subsidized rates is a great challenge [that must be addressed]. Otherwise, it can adversely affect our future investment plans," Chidambaram was quoted as saying.

The project is one of three plants the Indian group is planning to develop as part of the next phase of its expansion in Oman. Another pellet plant will be established to feed the company's steel mill at Sohar Port, while a lime and dolomite calcination unit is being considered for use in its steel melt shop.

Jindal Steel & Power shares were down by over 5% at 79.10 rupees per share in the afternoon trade in Mumbai.

As of Oct. 5, US$1 was equivalent to 66.55 Indian rupees.