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The board meeting of the ailing joint sector Haldia Petrochemicals Ltd was faced with a major upheaval that practically brought the State in the centrestage of future management activities.
Soon after the start of the discussion, Mr Partha S. Bhattacharyya submitted his resignation as Managing Director "on personal grounds. Mr Bhattacharyya, a former Coal India Chairman, was the nominee of private promoter The Chatterjee Group (TCG) during the section process.
According to sources, the development caught TCG camp unaware. The board accepted Mr Bhattacharyyas resignation and appointed former State Transport Secretary Mr Sumantra Chowdhury as the new Managing Director.
While responses were not available from TCG camp, the State Commerce and Industry Minister as well as Chairman of HPL, Mr Partha Chatterjee, told Business Line that the State Government was in the best of the relations with Mr Bhattacharyya and would continue to seek his advises in sorting out issues related to HPL.
According to the minister, IndianOil holding nine per cent stake - expressed their intention to join the HPL board and, MRPL wanted to conduct a due diligence to acquire managerial interests in the company. Both the issues were not discussed in todays meeting.
According to Mr Chatterjee, the former managing director has presented a Rs 1,000-crore business plan detailing possible efforts in cost reduction, energy efficiency and working capital refinance from bank to bring the company out of the cash crunch.
HPL has lost Rs 1,920 crore in last four years and is now running at half the capacity due to cash crunch.
As in March 2012, net worth stands at Rs 1,467 crore against a total liability of Rs 5,000 crore. "Our primary objective is now to ensure supply of feedstock. We will approach banks. I will also talk to IndianOil as they have stopped granting us credit on supplies. They are a stakeholder in the project and, ideally they should help us revive it, he said.
The West Bengal minister was extremely critical of the role played by TCG.
"Reviving this company is in the best interests of the promoters as it should enhance the return. However, we have seen little interest from the private promoter in bringing in finance. This was despite us extending all co-operation.
"On the contrary, we found him making stalling moves that could be in the best interest of the company. I am still looking forward to their cooperation, he said.
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