Millennium Post

Govt in divestment mode, to sell 10.82% of SAIL stake

The government has approved the sale of 10.82 per cent of its stake in Steel Authority of India (SAIL). The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, this evening has cleared SAIL public offer, official sources said.

The share sale process, proposed to be conducted through auction route or offer for sale, is expected to fetch over Rs 4,000 crore to the government, they added.

The proposal, mooted by the Department of Disinvestment, was deferred in the last week's meeting of CCEA, as the steel minister Beni Prasad Verma and the steel secretary D R S Chaudhary were not in town.

The government currently holds 85.82 per cent stake in SAIL. Shares of SAIL closed at Rs 93.10, down 0.16 per cent over previous close.

The Disinvestment Department will decide on the timing of the issue depending upon market conditions. Due to the poor market conditions, the government has not been able to launch the disinvestment programme for the current fiscal so far, although it aims to raise Rs 30,000 crore by selling stakes in the public sector firms.

Few days back, it had put on hold the initial public offer (IPO) of Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd (RINL) due to volatility in the markets and lukewarm response of prospective investors in the roadshows held last week. The IPO, in which the government has proposed to divest its 10 per cent stake, was supposed to kickstart this year's share sale programme of the government.

Hindustan Aeronautics, BHEL, National Aluminium Company (Nalco), Hindustan Copper and Oil India are some of the other PSUs which are on government's disinvestment radar this year, besides SAIL and RINL.
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