Essar Ports plans for $70 mn investment at Hazira by September 2020


Essar Ports, a unit of Ruias-promoted Essar group, is targeting to invest $ 70 million for expansion at its Hazira facility by September 2020, a top company official has said.

This will include $ 20 million for the remaining works under $ 450-million first phase of expansion and $ 50 million for the second phase that seeks to create ancillary facilities, Essar Ports' managing director and chief executive officer, Rajiv Agarwal, told reporters here.

"The first phase focuses on building the jetty which will be done by March 2019, while the second phase focuses on erecting ship unloaders, conveyor belt, etc, which will take 18 months after the end of phase-I to complete," he said.

While the company has tied-up finances for the phase-I largely through internal accruals and debt, it is yet to raise the same for the second phase, he said.

The company's total debt stands at Rs 39 billion or $ 600 million at present, and it is yet to take a call on the refinancing of the same as was reported earlier, he said.

The firm, which got delisted in 2015 and is among the handful of companies retained by the Ruias after the sale of oil business and bankruptcy of steel arm, clocked a revenue of $ 190 million in FY18, against $ 145 million in FY17.

Expansion at Hazira will increase the company's total capacity to 110 million tonne per annum, from the present 95 mtpa. In FY18, it handled 41 mtpa as against 30 mtpa earlier.

The company continues to hope to have an LNG terminal at Hazira, Agarwal said, adding that it will take up to 15 months for a facility to come up.

"Preparatory work on the LNG terminal is on and the company is presently preparing for the environment nod for the terminal," he said.

He, however, declined to provide details on the investments which will go into the LNG facility.

In September 2017, Agarwal had said the company is looking to invest up to $ 500 million to set up two LNG terminals, one each on the west and the east coast and said that one terminal will come up in 18 months.

The company said an iron-ore handling terminal at Vishakhapatnam for which it has invested Rs 8.3 billion is ready and will be inaugurated by Union minister Nitin Gadkari on Friday.