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Tatas to hike stake in steel company

BS Corporate Bureau in Mumbai | July 23, 2004 11:38 IST

The Tata group is looking at increasing its holding in Tata Steel, group chairman Ratan Tata said at the company's 97th annual general meeting in Mumbai on Thursday.

The promoters of Tata Steel hold 26.27 per cent stake in the company. While 19.8 per cent is held through Tata Sons, 4.66 per cent is held through Tata Motors, and the balance through other group firms.

Answering a shareholder query, Tata said, "We would like to increase our holding in the company, without having to make an open offer, through creeping acquisition. We are seeking clarifications on this from Sebi."

The group has been increasing its holding in various group companies through creeping acquisition to reach a comfortable position.

Meanwhile, Tata Steel is also expecting to reduce its workforce by around 2,000, through the annual voluntary retirement scheme.

The company is also targeting exports of 600,000 tonne of steel in the current fiscal. "We expect foreign earnings to go up by 20 per cent for the current year," Tata said.

The company is looking at exporting 100,000 tonne to China in the current year. Tata also said that the likelihood of sustained demand from China was a question mark.

Tata Steel is looking at producing around 4.15 million tonne of steel this year. The company is undergoing an expansion of 1 million tonne, which will be commissioned by March 2005.

The company has also announced a further capacity expansion by 2.4 million tonne, at an estimated investment of Rs 7,800 crore (Rs 78 billion), scheduled to be completed by 2007-2008.

Tata Steel has introduced a new brand for its wire product -- Tata Wiron. The company is also looking at setting up a distribution network on the lines of FMCG models.

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