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Nicomet has a capacity to produce 7.5 tonne per annum of nickel and cobalt.

Mumbai, NFAPost: Anil Agarwal-led Vedanta Limited said it has acquired Goa-based Nicomet, a leading nickel and cobalt producer.

The company is making the acquisition when the nickel market is tightening with a surge in battery demand and an increase in global stainless-steel production in recent years–a trend expected to continue into 2022, said Vedanta in a press release.

In a statement, Vedanta Limited chairman Anil Agarwal said the company is excited about Vedanta’s foray into nickel and cobalt production which will play a critical role in supporting Govt’s mission for an Atma Nirbhar Bharat.

“Nickel and Cobalt are a metal of great strategic importance, especially for our transition towards clean energy and electric mobility. Currently, India imports 100 percent of its nickel requirements and our focus will be to boost domestic production that would fuel India’s transition to a net-zero economy,” the release quoted Anil Agarwal,

Nicomet has a capacity to produce 7.5 tonne per annum of nickel and cobalt. With an ambitious growth plan in place, Vedanta said it is well poised to meet 50% of the country’s total nickel demand.

“Not every acquisition needs CCI approval. Under the Competition Act, certain jurisdictional thresholds have to be crossed by the parties to trigger a notification requirement. Moreover, there are also certain exempts that parties can avail from a notification requirement. Since Nicomet was in liquidation, it is possible that based on its asset and turnover value, the acquisition was able to avail such an exemption and no notification was needed” explained Neelambera Sandeepan, joint partner at Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan Attorneys, referring to the Competition Commission of India, the anti-trust regulator.

With this acquisition, Vedanta Limited has become the only nickel producer in the country. The comany didn’t disclose the deal size of the acquisition. “Since the asset acquired was under Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), it does not require CCI (Competition Commission of India) approval,” said spokesperson at Vedanta Limited.

Nicomet marks a major strategic acquisition for Vedanta as it is expected to strengthen its iron and steel business portfolio. Nickel is a key raw material used in the manufacturing of stainless steel and batteries for electric vehicles (EVs). Alongside, cobalt is used for lithium-ion batteries for EVs, energy storage systems and in superalloy for steelmaking.

“The plant has not been operational since 2018 so there is no head count at the unit at present. We (Vedanta) plan to restart this unit by March 2022,” said the Vedanta spokesperson.

The Nicomet acquisition is in line with Vedanta’s ESG mission and will support India’s carbon neutrality goals, said Vedanta.

Certified with ISO 9001 for quality and with strong R&D focus, Nicomet has emerged as a certified producer of high-quality battery grade Nickel Sulphate Crystals used for manufacturing batteries of electric vehicles globally. India’s demand for nickel is currently pegged at 45,000 tonne per annum which is entirely met through imports at present.

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