Essar plans floating shipping business in London

Prashant Ruia, chief executive of the Group told The Times that the company was considering a UK listing for other parts of the business, including its ports and shipping arm.

"Yes, we are open to it," he told the newspaper only a few weeks before the first anniversary of the USD 2.5 billion (1.5 billion pound) London float of Essar Energy. "Last year, when we looked at doing this, it was very much focused  on doing it as a single experience... but we have been very happy over the past year.

We have other businesses which are listed in Bombay - the shipping business for example. I'm sure we will look," he said.

He said nothing was imminent and that no final decisions would be taken until next year.
Essar Ports has an annual capacity of 76 million tonnes and handles 40 million tonnes of cargo a year, mainly crude oil and iron ore.

It is already India's second-largest privately owned ports group in terms of volumes but is on track to double capacity to 158 million tonnes in the next two years.

The group is investing USD 1.1 billion to acquire 12 new vessels and jack up rigs for its shipping operation.

Separately, Ruia said Essar Energy, the FTSE 100 listed company in which the Ruias retain nearly 77 per cent, was examining acquisitions to bolster its access to oil and coal for the Indian market.

"We are looking at international resources in coal, oil and gas in  Africa, Indonesia and Australia.

"With revenues of USD 15 billion last year, Essar has interests in businesses from ports and shipping to outsourcing."

He said other divisions could also be considered for a London listing, although he declined to comment on the specifics.

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