Budget 2014: Disinvestment target halved; Balco, HZL stake sale now in FY15

Written by PTI | New Delhi | Updated: Feb 18 2014, 02:43am hrs
Investment, Budget 2014The disinvestment target for the current financial year was slashed by about 60 per cent to Rs 16,027 crore from Rs 40,000 cr. Reuters
The government has pushed the sale of its residual stake in Hindustan Zinc and Balco to the next financial year and hopes to meet a disinvestment target that's been more than halved by offloading Indian Oil and BHEL shares and setting up a CPSE Exchange Traded Fund.

The disinvestment target for the current financial year was slashed by about 60 per cent to Rs 16,027 crore from Rs 40,000 crore, according to the Interim Budget for 2014-15.

So far, the exchequer has received about Rs 3,500 crore from PSU stake sales, leaving about Rs 12,500 crore to be mobilised from selling shares in Indian Oil Corporation, BHEL and the CPSE ETF.

The targeted mop-up from the sale of the government's residual stake in private companies, too, has been lowered to Rs 3,000 crore in this financial year from a budgeted Rs 14,000 crore, by way of selling Axis Bank shares held by Specified Undertaking of the Unit Trust of India (SUUTI).

"We are selling only a part of SUUTI stake in Axis Bank this fiscal. Whether the other part will be sold next year is too early to say," Finance Minister P Chidambaram told reporters here.

The government expects to sell its remaining stake in Hindustan Zinc (HZL) and Balco in 2014-15. It sold majority stakes in the two companies to the Vedanta Group during 2001-2003 and now holds 29.54 per cent in HZL and 49 per cent in Bharat Aluminium Company (Balco).

"The decision to divest stake in HZL and Balco stands. The process takes time and in our estimate the process cannot be completed before March 31," Economic Affairs Secretary Arvind Mayaram said, adding that the receipts from the two stake sales will be budgeted in the next fiscal (2014-15).

The government also holds some stake in Larsen & Toubro and ITC through SUUTI.

It proposes to mobilise Rs 15,000 crore from the stake sale in HZL and Balco and estimates disinvestment proceeds in 2014-15 at Rs 36,925 crore.

The Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSE) Exchange Traded Fund would consist of listed CPSE stocks.

The Cabinet has already approved the stake sale in HZL and Balco through an auction. It has also cleared the sale of Axis Bank shares held through SUUTI, which has appointed three merchant bankers to manage the process.

The government expects to raise about Rs 5,000 crore through a 10 per cent stake sale in Indian Oil, the country's largest refiner, to state-owned explorers Oil & Natural Gas Corporation and Oil India Ltd.

It plans to raise over Rs 2,000 crore by selling a 5 per cent stake in power plant equipment maker BHEL to financial institutions such as Life Insurance Corporation through block deals.

Another Rs 3,000 crore is expected to be mobilised from the CPSE Exchange Traded Fund, which will consist of scrips of 11 blue chip state-owned firms, that will be offered in the market.