Kerala to take over Hindustan Newsprint Limited
Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala is ready to take over Hindustan Newsprint Limited (HNL), put up for sale by the central government. The state government has directed Kerala Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (KINFRA) to take steps in this regard.
The amount needed for the purchase will be allotted from Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB). According to the finance report, the company had liabilities to the tune of Rs 409 crore as on March 31, 2019.
Located at Veloor in Kottayam district, HNL is a subsidiary of Hindustan Paper Corporation Limited (HPCL), a Government of India Enterprise. Kerala had acquired and handed over 600 acres of land for the company. The central government decided to sell HNL following losses.
Earlier, Kerala had expressed readiness to hand over HPCL Rs 25 crore for its share in HNL. Kerala had demanded to let it remain a public sector enterprise. Following this, the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) ordered the transfer of the shares to Kerala.
However, six banks approached NCLT seeking clarity over settling of HNL’s liabilities which amounted to crores of rupees and Kerala’s plans to buy shares was put on hold.
Based on a petition filed by RBL bank, NCLT directed that liabilities of HNL must be calculated before it was sold. The NCLT appointed a person to settle the petition filed by the banks and to complete the sale of HNL.
When bidders were invited to buy the company, 4 public sector companies expressed interest based on the directions of the Kerala government. All four were certified to be able to undertake HNL. Now, KINFRA will submit the takeover plan instead of the four companies.
Following a directive from the Department of Industries, the Public Sector Restructuring and Internal Audit Board (RIAB) has prepared the takeover plan and has handed over the same to KINFRA.
Two private companies are also competing to buy HNL.