Millennium Post

LIC’s Rs 2K cr spearheads Govt’s record disinvestment drive

With purchase of PSU shares worth over Rs 2,000 crore this fiscal, state-run insurer LIC has contributed about 10 per cent to the government's record high disinvestment kitty of about Rs 23,900 crore in 2012-13.

In the current fiscal, the government has sold shares in eight public sector companies — NBCC, HCL, NTPC, RCF, Nalco, Oil India, NMDC and SAIL — as part of its disinvestment programme for the current fiscal ending on March 31.

The share sale in these companies has helped the exchequer garner a total estimated amount of Rs 23,900 crore -- the highest ever figure for any single financial year ever since the disinvestment drive began in the year 1991-92.

Prior to this, the highest one-year disinvestment kitty was realised in the fiscal year 2009-10 at Rs 23,553 crore.

The first year of disinvestment in 1991-92 recorded total proceeds of Rs 3,038 crore, while the cumulative amount raised under this programme since then is about Rs 1.37 lakh crore.

Contrary to the general perception, (LIC) Life Insurance Corporation of India) has not bailed out the government's various disinvestment drives in the current fiscal.

While LIC has purchased shares in most of the share sales by the government in 2012-13, the cumulative amount of shares purchased by the insurer in seven out of eight disinvestment candidates is only about Rs 2,000 crore.

The amount of shares purchased by LIC or other buyers in SAIL has not been disclosed so far, as the auction for sale of shares in the PSU steel giant was held last week itself.

Still, LIC has been the single biggest buyer of shares sold by the government in most of these eight companies.

The government offloaded shares in seven companies through one-day OFS (Offer for Sale) route on stock exchanges, while there was one Initial Public Offer for NBCC (National Buildings Construction Corporation).

In 2011-12, the government garnered Rs 13,894 crore through share sales in two companies -- ONGC and PFC.

Interestingly, the government's first ever equity sale of ONGC through the OFS route (Rs 12,750 crore) in the last fiscal was almost entirely bailed out by LIC, which pumped in close to Rs 12,000 crore during the concluding minutes.

In the current fiscal, NTPC was the biggest stake sale programme, fetching around Rs 11,500 crore wherein LIC is estimated to have invested around Rs 1,600 crore.

Besides, LIC is estimated to have bought shares to the tune of Rs 130 crore in the Rs 5,973 crore share sale of NMDC.

Among others, the government raised Rs 3,141 crore via share sale in Oil India, followed by Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) for Rs 1,514 crore, HCL (Rs 808 crore), NALCO (Rs 620 crore) and RCF (Rs 310 crore).

LIC has purchased shares worth shares worth Rs 211 crore in Hindustan Copper's OFS, Rs 210 crore in NALCO and Rs 142 crore in Rashtriya Chemicals and Fertilizers (RCF).
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