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Govt to divest stake in 6-7 cos in next 12 months: Finance Secy

Last Updated: Tuesday, August 18, 2009 - 20:13

New Delhi: The government will offload equity in six to seven state-owned companies in the next 12 months, Finance Secretary Ashok Chawla said on Tuesday.

"Two companies are going to the market. (Disinvestment plans of) others are getting finalised. So, there would be six to seven more companies which will come up (for stake sale)," he told reporters on the sidelines of a Corporation Bank function.
The divestment of identified public sector undertakings would be done in the next 10 to 12 months, he added.

While NHPC has already completed its initial public offering (IPO), Oil India Limited (OIL) is slated to hit the market in September.

The NHPC issue, which would help raise about Rs 6,000 crore, was subscribed over 23 times the shares on offer.

Among the PSUs which are firming up plans to hit the capital markets include mineral major NMDC and Coal India Limited.
Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee in his budget speech had said that government would retain 51 percent stake in the PSUs, while the rest can be owned by public.

"While retaining at least 51 percent government equity in out enterprises, I propose to encourage people`s participation in our disinvestment programme", he had said.
Asked how much was the government looking to mobilise from the disinvestment process, Chawla said it has not been quantified yet.

"In any case money is not the main criteria. The idea is to push this (disinvestment) forward," he said.

On National Investment Fund (NIF), he said the Finance Ministry will soon go to the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs seeking permission for the utilisation of fund.

NIF is the fund created out of the corpus generated from the disinvestment of the public sector companies.

Speaking about the drought, Chawla said full assessment is not yet available. With rainfall improving in the last 2-3 days, the situation has turned better.

"We have to see what is the demand and real requirement of states," he said, adding that assessment will take time.

Chawla also said there is no need to revise the government`s borrowing programme.

"We don`t see at this point of time any need to rejig our borrowing programme," he said. The government plans to borrow nearly Rs 4,00,000 crore from markets during 2009-10, a rise of about 50 percent over what it borrowed a year ago.

The net market borrowing of the government through issue of dated securities in 2009-10 is estimated at Rs 3,97,957.46 crore.

Bureau Report

First Published: Tuesday, August 18, 2009 - 20:13
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