September 6, 2008

Brand Bengal stands to lose Rs 80,000 cr

KOLKATA: If the Tatas go, they will take with them almost everything that matters to Brand Bengal: image and the big bucks. The first entity doesn’t carry a price tag but the second one does: a whopping Rs 80,000 crore in investments. The immediate loss will be over Rs 5,000 crore, including the investments on the ancillary units in Singur. The list would also include tier-II vendors, who will have no reason to be here once Ratan Tata moves out.
What’s more, the Tata brands like Tata Realty Infrastructure, Tata Metaliks and Maithon Power Limited might also take flight, amounting to a loss of at least Rs 10,000 crore. Besides, there are other big-time investors who are already jittery. Bharat Forge, which had decided to invest big time in Bengal largely because of the Nano plant in Singur, is now in two minds. The company would have brought in Rs 6,500 crore. This top-of-the-line forging company had signed an MoU with the government earlier this year. Ever since trouble erupted in Singur, their response to the state industries department is: We’ll get back.
Brand Bengal had attracted investment announcements of Rs 1,27,302 crore since the third quarter of the last financial year. But this target is now a distant dream. In case of a Tata pullout, there will be a question mark on the investment from nonferrous metal major Vedanta Group. That will be another Rs 16,000 crore gone. Then, there are steel majors who would have implemented their projects this year, but are apprehensive now. All these steel majors, including Adhunik (Rs 5,000 crore), Shyam Steel (Rs 8,000 crore), Jay Balaji (Rs 16,500 crore), Bhushan Steel (Rs 4,000 crore), Abhijit Group (Rs 8,000 crore) may not be all that keen to invest. ‘‘None of these steel majors will stay on, once the Tatas go,’’ an industries department official said. ‘‘These investments had come after sheer hard work. We had also roped in other automobile majors. Two months ago, they were ready to start work. Now, they are saying they would rather wait and watch,’’ he said.
4 Sep 2008, 1010 hrs IST,

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