Tata Steel Ltd's plans for its European steel business remain unchanged and the debt-laden company still plans to find a partner willing to joint venture on the assets, according to a source present at a closed-door analyst briefing on Thursday.
In March, Tata Steel decided to put its entire British steel operations on sale as it was failing to bear the brunt of cheap Chinese imports and low demand in the region.
However, the process had to be called off in July due to uncertainty over Britain's vote to leave the European Union and the pension liabilities of the steel unit. The company has since said it is now exploring opportunities for a partnership for its entire European steel business, which also includes steel mills in the Netherlands.
Tata Steel has previously said that Germany's ThyssenKrupp AG is one of the companies with whom a partnership is being discussed.
The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Tata Steel officials told analysts there were no concerns about the group's steel business stemming from the departure of its former chairman Cyrus Mistry as boss of Tata Sons.
Analysts had raised concerns that the departure of Mistry from the chairmanship of the group, could hurt the prospects of the merger or sale of the European steel business as he was involved in key discussions.
Mistry, in a letter to the board of Tata Sons on Tuesday, criticised the group's penchant for foreign acquisitions saying the investments in loss-making businesses could lead to potential writedowns to the tune of $18 billion.
He also alleged in the letter that due to an aggressive acquisition strategy, during Ratan Tata's previous tenure as chair, the company's European steel business suffered "potential impairments in excess of $10 billion, only some of which has been taken as of date."
In response to the letter, Tata Steel said on Thursday that its financial statements presented a true and fair value of the company.
In an interview with Mint newspaper on Thursday, the head of ThyssenKrupp India, Ravi Kriplani said the discussions with Tata Steel on a joint venture were at a preliminary stage and far from fruition.
(Reporting by Promit Mukherjee; Editing by Alexandra Hudson and David Evans)