Selloff plan: Air India, SAIL units, Dredging Corp, BEML, Scooters India among 35 PSUs on the block

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Updated: February 3, 2019 11:44:26 AM

NITI Aayog recently submitted to the DIPAM the fifth list of CPSEs, profitable as well as non-profitable, which can go in for a strategic sale. This takes the total number of CPSEs identified for strategic disinvestment to 35.

35 CPSEs lined up for strategic sale, DIPAM streamlining processes for faster execution

With 35 CPSEs being lined up for strategic sale, the Finance Ministry is planning to streamline processes to cut down the time for the outright sale of such state-owned companies. Taking a cue from the ongoing strategic sale of Pawan Hans, the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) is keen that the long-drawn sale process of CPSEs be simplified so that more than one company could be taken up for the sell-off simultaneously.

“We are going to correct the procedure (for strategic sale). It is a bit long and long winding, which was okay initially as everybody had to take a lot of precautions. Now also we will take precaution, but we understand how to go ahead. The process is very important to my mind for strategic disinvestment and that is going to be our endeavour (to simplify it),” DIPAM Secretary Atanu Chakraborty told PTI in an interview.

NITI Aayog recently submitted to the DIPAM the fifth list of CPSEs, profitable as well as non-profitable, which can go in for a strategic sale. This takes the total number of CPSEs identified for strategic disinvestment to 35. “The companies are more or less defined for strategic disinvestment. The fifth tranche has already come and we will take that to the Cabinet for approval. Having done that, there would be 35 companies that we have to sell,” he said.

The companies which have been shortlisted for strategic sale include Air India, Air India subsidiary AIATSL, Dredging Corporation, BEML, Scooters India, Bharat Pumps Compressors, and Bhadrawati, Salem and Durgapur units of steel major SAIL. The other CPSEs for which approvals are in place for outright sale include Hindustan Fluorocarbon, Hindustan Newsprint, HLL Life Care, Central Electronics, Bridge & Roof India, Nagarnar Steel plant of NMDC and units of Cement Corporation of India and ITDC.

Chakraborty said the department will take up more than one CPSE at a time for strategic sale.

“There is a lot of time that we will take for initial work and then finish off everything in a time-bound manner. So the time starts from the day the EoI is floated and then the process would be finished off quickly. The time, however, would vary from transaction to transaction and the type of the transactions,” he said.

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With regard to Air India, Chakraborty said the DIPAM would wait for the financial results before restarting the process of the strategic sale of the national carrier. “Let’s get the results. That result can help us look at it more dispassionately, improve it whatever we can. We are trying them to hurry it up so that they do it quickly,” he said.

The government had initially planned to offload 76 per cent equity share capital of the national carrier as well as transfer the management control to private players. The buyer was required to take over Rs 24,000 crore debt of the carrier along with over Rs 8,000 crore of liabilities. However, the stake sale failed to attract any bidder when the bidding process completed on May 31.

Air India has a debt burden of Rs 55,000 crore. In November last year, a ministerial panel had approved transferring Rs 29,000 crore debt to a special purpose vehicle (SPV)– Air India Asset Holding Company. With regard to Pawan Hans, he said the sale process is in advanced stages.

Helicopter services provider Pawan Hans is a joint venture between the government and ONGC. The government holds 51 per cent stake while state-owned ONGC owns the remaining 49 per cent shareholding. Pawan Hans has a fleet of 46 choppers.

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