Narendra Modi govt lines up stake sale in IOC, four other PSUs as ONGC deal unlikely

By: | Published: January 23, 2015 3:07 PM

Centre eyeing Rs 18,000 crore from stake sale in five PSUs in absence of ONGC.

Narendra Modi, Narendra Modi ONGC deal, Narendra Modi PSU stake salePrime Minister Narendra Modi at Beti Bachao Beti Padhao programme in Panipat. PTI

Centre eyeing Rs 18,000 crore from stake sale in five PSUs in absence of ONGC. The government was targetting Rs 17,000-18,000 crore by selling 5% stake in the up-stream oil and gas company but poor feedback from international investors forced the govt to alter its plans.

With prospects for conducting ONGC stake sale getting grimmer and the urgent need to achieve its FY15 disinvestment, the government has lined-up stake sale in four state-owned companies – Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), Bharat Heavy Electricals (BHEL), National Aluminium (Nalco), and Dredging Corporation (DCIL) for the current financial year.

On Thursday, the Department of Disinvestment (DoD) floated proposals seeking merchant bankers’ assistance in selling 10% stake each in IOC as well as Nalco, and 5% stake each in BHEL and DCIL. A day earlier, the DoD had expressed interest in selling 10% stake in mining company National Mining Development Corp (NMDC).

Total proceeds from the five auctions could fetch the central exchequer roughly Rs 18,000-18,500 crore based on current market rates. The amount is equivalent to Rs 17,000-18,000 crore targetted from the 5% stake sale in ONGC and nearly 41% of the government’s target of Rs 43,425 crore this fiscal.

The government has lined-up 5% stake sale each in state-owned power financing companies Rural Electrification Corp (REC) and Power Finance Corp (PFC), with the latter scheduled to hit the market next week. Both the transactions could help fetch about Rs 2,900-3,300 crore.

Given the failure to mobilize funds, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has recently indicated that the government has lined up an aggressive disinvestment programme to meet the fiscal deficit target of 4.1% in the current fiscal.

“We still have close to three months left…this is going to be period of great activity as far as disinvestment is concerned. I am not going to give any indication but major disinvestment in the coming months prior to March 31 is going to take place,” Jaitley said at a business award occasion organized by CNBC-TV18.

In the 10 months of FY15, the government has managed to raise Rs 1,719.54 crore from the 5.82% auction of Steel Authority of India (SAIL) which was bailed-out by Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) of India.

The 5% stake sale in the upstream oil and gas company Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) is likely scrapped after receiving “poor” feedback from foreign investors during the international roadshows. Investors raised concerns over ONGC’s subsidy burden, which if remained unresolved would deplete the company’s cash reserves as it planned a massive capital expenditure (capex) programme.

The government has set a target to raise a total Rs 58,425 crore, of which Rs 43,425 crore is planned through PSU stake sale and the balance from selling residual stake owned by a government agency in erstwhile PSUs.

However the government put its plans to sell 11.36% stake in NHPC on hold, and also delayed the launch of RINL and HAL initial public offerings (IPOs) to next fiscal.

The government had also planned to sell its stake in Hindustan Zinc and Balco, but was forced to re-think its strategy after the Supreme Court initiated probe in the 2002 disinvestment of the state-owned zinc mining company to Vedanta resources.

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