Essar wants to sell drilling business

Vol 4, PW 6 (26 Apr 00) News in Brief

The Essar Group has announced it is looking to sell all or part of its profitable drilling business.

Essar director Prashant Ruia tells the Financial Express newspaper that the company is looking for a 'Joint Venture' partner and that it hopes to finalise an agreement within six months. Essar is keen to project the sale of its drilling business as a 'consolidation' of its core business, and not a 'distress sale to please the bankers.' Essar presently has 11 land rigs on lease in Oman, Kuwait and Qatar.

The company said it plans to appoint a banker shortly to evaluate the business. One estimate puts the value of its fleet of rigs at $160m.

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