By Tarjei Leer-Salvesen and Morten Rønning
Norsk Hydro will not confirm this, but NorWatch has learned that Utkal Alumina will have a board meeting in the first week of March. According to ET, the board will then make a final decision concerning the company's ownership structure and speed up the financing of the project. According to ET's sources in Indal's board, the final decision as to whether or not Alcan will become involved in the Utkal project has been delayed due to factors of internal nature within Alcan. Alcan is one of the major stockholders in Indal.
Manager Information and Public Affairs Thomas Knutzen of Hydro Aluminum makes no effort to conceal that he is familiar with the Indian press reports. However, he will not confirm to NorWatch that Utkal now has found its fourth partner in Alcan. But he has an optimistic view of the way things are moving ahead in the company right now.
- We hope that a decision regarding the ownership structure in the company will be reached soon, so that the project can progress as planned, says Knutzen.
ET further writes that the final partner of Utkal, Tata, will split its holding between Tata Steel and Tata Industries, leaving the participating companies each with a holding of about 20%.
The final decision concerning the ownership of the company, together with a swift decision on investments, can speed up the work with the alumina project as compared to the date previously indicated by Norsk Hydro. The Economic Times reports that the land has been taken over, and that the rehabilitation of the people who were forced to move has taken place. As was plain to see when NorWatch visited the area, this is far from the truth.
Norwatch Newsletter 4/98