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Govt eyes Rs2,500 crore from selling 15% stake in NLC India

LiveMint logoLiveMint 05-09-2017 Swaraj Singh Dhanjal

Mumbai: With the government successfully raising about Rs9,100 crore by selling a stake in NTPC Ltd through an offer for sale (OFS), it is now looking at selling a 15% stake in another power producer NLC India Ltd, two people aware of the developments said.

An OFS is likely this month, said one of the two people cited above, requesting anonymity as he is not authorized to speak to reporters. The sale could fetch the government as much as Rs2,500 crore at current market prices, he added.

“They are now eyeing NLC India as the next company to bring to the market for an OFS. The stake sale could be launched in the second half of September,” he said.

As of market close on Tuesday, NLC India’s shares were priced at Rs100 on BSE, giving the company a market capitalization of Rs16,777 crore.

The government currently owns 89.32% in NLC India. A 15% stake sale would help the government pare its stake to below 75%.

A spokesperson for the ministry of finance declined to comment on the stake sale plan.

NLC’s offer for sale is part of government’s ambitious divestment target of Rs72,500 crore for this fiscal.

As part of the plan, the government selected seven publicly-traded companies where it would look at divesting its stake through an offer for sale. These include power sector firms NTPC, NLC India Ltd, NHPC Ltd, Power Finance Corp Ltd and Rural Electrification Corp Ltd. Other companies in the list include Steel Authority of India Ltd and refiner Indian Oil Corp. Ltd

The stake sales in these firms are likely to fetch the government more than Rs30,000 crore.

On 29 August, the government launched the OFS for around 5% stake in thermal power producer NTPC, with an option to retain oversubscription for another 5%. The government eventually received bids for 7% stake.

Earlier in April, the government managed to raise around Rs2,700 crore through a 11.36% stake sale in hydropower producer NHPC Ltd through the OFS route.

Divestments have helped the government raise around Rs17,000 crore in the current fiscal year.

The ambitious divestment plan will also see the initial public offerings of several public sector undertakings.

In April, Mint reported that two state-owned insurance firms New India Assurance Co. Ltd (NIA) and General Insurance Corp. of India Ltd (GIC) had hired investment banks for their respective IPOs. Both firms filed their respective draft IPO documents in early August.

Apart from insurers, several railway firms are also likely to go public. These include Rail Vikas Nigam Ltd, IRCON International Ltd, Indian Railway Finance Corp. Ltd, Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corp. Ltd (IRCTC) and RITES Ltd.

Other state-owned firms that have been cleared for IPOs include three defence ministry enterprises—Bharat Dynamics Ltd, Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Ltd and Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Ltd;MSTC Ltd and Mishra Dhatu Nigam Ltd, controlled by the steel ministry; and North Eastern Electric Power Corp. Ltd, which is under the power ministry.

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