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Tata Steel eyes UK firm Stemcor's Indian assets

LONDON: India's largest steelmaker, Tata Steel, has set its sights on the Indian iron oreassets of one of Britain's largest independent steel trading companies - Stemcor, according to a media report. 

The British 
firm has run into trouble as a result of a global slowdown in the steel industry and is in rescue talks with banks after de-faulting on more than USD 1 billion of loans. 

The cash crunch has forced the company to offload some of its physical assets, including its iron ore mine in Orissa which could fetch an estimated USD 800 million. 

According to 'The Sunday Times' sources, 
Tata SteelBSE 1.10 % is keen to grab the iron ore to feed its Indian steel mills. 

The company, which bought over British steelmaker 
Corus back in 2007, faces stiff competition for the iron mines from another Indian rival - Jindal SteelBSE 1.47 % and Power. 

Stemcor has been granted a payment holiday by banks on its unpaid debt until September 16. 

It presented a recovery plan last week that proposed shrinking the business. 

The move would slash revenues by about 30 per cent. Stemcor is to present a full debt restructuring plan to lenders by the end of August. 

The company'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.