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JSW Eyes Port Asset Acquisitions, To Cut Steel Unit Debt

JSW Group is looking to buy debt-laden port assets in the country as part of a strategy for a massive expansion of its ports capacity

Indian conglomerate JSW Group, whose businesses range from power to steel and cement, is looking to buy debt-laden port assets in the country as part of a strategy for a massive expansion of its ports capacity, its chief financial officer said.

At the same time, the group plans to cut debt at its steel unit, CFO Seshagiri Rao told Reuters in a recent interview.

JSW Infrastructure, the firm's unlisted ports unit, currently has a port capacity of 33 million tonnes spread across three ports on the western coast of India. The company plans to increase it more than six-fold to 200 million tonnes by 2020, the CFO said.

The group is one of India's most indebted conglomerates, having borrowed heavily in recent years to expand its steel and power businesses. But these sectors have been hit by slowdown in India's economy as well as regulatory bottlenecks.

Rao said the group's flagship firm, JSW Steel , is expanding capacity by 4 million tonnes by end of this month to take it to 18 million tonnes per year.

He said that will help in lowering the steel unit's debt-to-equity and debt-to-EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation) ratios to 1.75 and 3.75, respectively, by the end of March 2018, from 1.83 and 6.66 at the end of December 2015.

(Reuters)


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