* Stemcor in talks with various steelmakers in India
* Jindal says has not made a decision yet
By Silvia Antonioli
LONDON, July 10 (Reuters) - UK's Stemcor, the world's
largest independent steel trading company, is in talks with
Indian steelmakers including Jindal Steel and Power,
about the sale of its iron processing assets in the Indian state
The trading firm has come under pressure to raise funds
since it was forced to ask lenders to freeze its repayments when
it was unable to refinance an $850 million syndicated loan that
was due to mature on May 7.
The privately-owned firm has put up for sale its wholly
owned project Brahmani River Pellets Ltd, which includes a 4
million tonnes a year iron beneficiation plant in Barbil and a
pellet plant complex in Jaipur, which are connected via a
220-kilometre underground slurry pipeline, sources said.
"The asset is openly for sale. They have spoken with almost
every steel mill in the country about a possible takeover of the
asset. They also came to us but we have not taken any decision
yet," V.R. Sharma, chief executive of the steel business of
Indian firm Jindal Steel and Power said by telephone.
He declined to comment on any price involved and Stemcor
declined to comment on the potential sale.
Other major steelmakers in India are Tata Steel,
Steel Authority of India and JSW Steel.
Tata Steel declined to say whether it was in talks with
Stemcor over a potential acquisition of the assets.
Steel Authority of India and JSW were not immediately
Stemcor's Indian beneficiation plant takes low grade iron
ore fines from various local mines and refines them while the
pellet plant, located near local steelmakers, converts low-grade
iron fines into value-added pellets.
Iron ore is a key ingredient to produce steel and India is a
main supplier of spot cargoes to China, the world's largest
buyer of the metal.