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December 27, 2008

Vietnam Venture:
India’s Tata Steel encounters land delays

India's Tata Steel, the world's No. 6 steelmaker, said on Friday a $5 billion integrated steel plant it plans to build in Vietnam would be delayed as the location for the project was still being finalized, reported Reuters.

"The Vietnam government is yet to give us land. They had indicated a plot, but are now changing the location," Tata Steel spokesman Sanjay Choudhary told Reuters.

Earlier on Friday, the Business Standard newspaper reported the commissioning of the first phase of the plant, which will eventually have a capacity of 4.5 million tonnes a year, would be put back by at least a year to 2011, quoting an unnamed company spokesperson.

The paper said the delay was due to the large number of projects proposed for an economic zone in the southeast Asian nation.

Choudhary said several other locations were being considered, but declined to say by how long this would delay the project.

Tata Steel, had signed a joint venture deal in August with Vietnam Steel Corp and Vietnam Cement Industries to build the plant in three phases. The first phase was to be commissioned by end-2010.

Tata's will own 65 percent in the venture, which the Business Standard said would need 1,100 hectares of land.

Tata Steel, which produces a fifth of its output in India and also has steel plants in Thailand, Singapore and Europe, where it bought the U.K.'s Corus in 2007, has also faced delays due to land issues at home.

Shares in the company were down 2.7 percent at 211.5 rupees at 10:30 GMT, in a Mumbai market .BSESN 2.5 percent lower.

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