Prashant Ruia's fruitless dash to Gandhinagar

Vol 23, PW 5 (16 Jan 20) News in Brief

Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani had no time for Essar director Prashant Ruia but offered a warm reception for ArcelorMittal chief LN Mittal.

Ruia rushed to Gandhinagar on the morning of January 9 in his private jet to meet the chief minister but returned to Mumbai empty-handed in the afternoon after Rupani refused to meet him. Ruia's visit was ostensibly to enlist Rupani in his dispute with Mittal over two jetties Essar constructed at the Hazira steel mill acquired by ArcelorMittal and Nippon Steel in December (2019).

"Mittal thought the jetties were part of the deal," a Gandhinagar source tells us. "But Essar refuses to give up the jetties saying they're owned by Essar Bulk Terminal (EBTL), a separate company."

Essar brothers Shashi (Prashant's father) and Ravi Ruia own 74% of EBTL. ArcelorMittal and Nippon Steel have set up JV ArcelorMittal Nippon Steel India which now owns and operates Essar Steel after the Supreme Court accepted its offer to pay Rs42,000cr ($5.9bn) upfront to financial creditors of bankrupt Essar Steel on November 15 (2019).

In sharp contrast to the snub he gave Prashant Ruia, Rupani hosted Mittal and his team in Gandhinagar on December 16 (2019).