Posco‘s expansion in India still shrouded by clouds of uncertainty

Aug 13, 2015, 08:30 am

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A wide gap in attitude and agreement between POSCO and India's Uttam Galva
Posco CEO Kwon Oh-joon (fourth on the left) takes a picture with delegates from governments at a CRM (short for 'cold rolling mill') plant inauguration ceremony in Maharashtra in January 2015. Source from POSCO

By Ha Man-joo, India correspondent, AsiaToday - While Posco signed a memorandum of agreement (MoA) with India's Uttam Galva Steels on Tuesday to set up an integrated steel plant in the western state of Maharashtra, it still remains uncertain whether the project will be implemented.

First of all, outline of the agreement sounds different from each side, especially in terms of annual production. While Posco announced that it will build 1.5 million tonne per annum (MPTA) plant, Uttam Galva's side said it will be a 3 MTPA project. AsiaToday found out that both sides had previously discussed to set up a 3 MTPA steel plant in April 2013.

Yoon Yong-won, the then CMO of Posco India, said, "Uttam Galva Group has clear possession of the land and the site is close to port facilities and iron ore mines in Goa. They have offered us about 1,700 acres, which can accommodate steel plant of three-million tonne capacity."

Moreover, both sides' attitudes towards the project are clearly different.

While Uttam Galva issued a press release on Tuesday showing enthusiasm for the project, Posco didn't talk much considering the consequence of its decision to temporarily suspend its Odisha project. Posco has virtually given up the plant project in Odisha after a decade long struggle due to lack of any progress.

An official from Posco's headquarters told AsiaToday on Wednesday, "We are still in the MoA process. Uttam Galva said it will be 3 MTPA project in a press release issued yesterday. However, we are discussing to build 1.5 MTPA plant initially." 

An official of Posco India said, "The agreement is about a technical cooperation based on Finex technology. It refers to the beginning of research on technical diagnosis and more. It will take time for the project to be carried on with detailed plans."

On the other hand, Uttam Galva said, "The MoA is the first step towards establishing a joint venture." It added, "A 3 million tonne steel plant in Satarda, Maharashtra, will be set up."

Ankit Miglani, deputy managing director of Uttan Galva Steels, said, "We have been associated with Posco across various aspects of the steel business over the years. Today's MoA signals our intention to further advance our collaboration with Posco to a higher level." He added, "This JV will hep us to develop a world class integrated steel manufacturing facility in line with the government's 'Make in India' initiative."

#Posco #India #Uttam Galva Steels 
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