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Coal India divestment on Friday; Govt eyes Rs 22,600 crore

At the floor price, the total 10 percent stake can fetch the government Rs 22,600 crore.

Coal India divestment on Friday; Govt eyes Rs 22,600 crore

New Delhi/Kolkata: In the biggest ever share sale, government will offer Coal India shares at a floor price of Rs 358 apiece Friday for divestment of up to 10 percent stake in the state-run behemoth for an estimated Rs 22,600 crore, even as trade unions warned of strike against the move.

The floor price was fixed on Thursday at a discount of about 5 percent from the current market price of Coal India (CIL), where the government presently holds nearly 90 percent stake.

In the one-day stake sale, to be conducted today during market hours from 9 am to 3.30 pm, the government will sell 31.58 crore shares or 5 percent stake with an option to sell a further 5 percent stake depending on the demand.

At the floor price, the total 10 percent stake can fetch the government Rs 22,600 crore, although retail investors would get a five percent price discount and 20 percent shares worth over Rs 4,000 crore would be reserved for them.

This would exceed the existing record amount of over Rs 15,000 crore raised through a public offer, which was also by CIL when it had entered the market with its IPO in 2010.

CIL shares were sold at a price of Rs 245 in the IPO, which was oversubscribed by more than 15 times.

The government will have to dilute its stake by further 5 percent at a later stage to meet the capital market norms of maximum 75 percent promoter shareholding in a listed company.

Today's share sale would also help the government on its disinvestment target of Rs 43,425 crore for the current fiscal ending on March 31, out of which it has so far collected less than Rs 1,800 crore.

Opposing the move, trade unions on Thursday said they will hold "symbolic demonstration" on Friday to protest against the disinvestment and also warned of a possible strike at a later stage after discussing the matter among all central unions.

The stock exchanges on Thursday also sought clarification from the company on media reports that unions have threated to 'go slow', to which CIL replied that it has not received any notice from any union in this regard.

In the meantime, markets regulator Sebi and the stock exchanges including BSE and NSE have put their surveillance systems on 'high alert' to thwart any manipulative activities in Coal India shares in the wake of the divestment programme.

Coal India shares on Thursday slipped 2.3 percent to close at Rs 375.15, while its trade volumes rose by more than 13 times at the BSE alone.

Coal India would be second company to hit the markets under the government's disinvestment programme in the current fiscal 2014-15, the first being SAIL in which shares worth about Rs 1,700 crore were sold. Coal India alone can help the government meet more than half of the total target.

The government will need to sell shares worth further Rs 20,000 crore in public sector firms in about two months left in the current fiscal to help meet its fiscal deficit target of 4.1 percent of GDP for this financial year.

ONGC was the other major PSU lined up for share sale by the government to raise about Rs 15,000 crore, but slump in oil prices has dampened the prospects.

Other potential disinvestment candidates include NMDC, Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), Bharat Heavy Electricals (BHEL), National Aluminium (Nalco) and Dredging Corporation (DCIL), while stake sales in PFC and REC are also on the cards.