Saturday, October 29, 2016

Government gives go ahead for strategic sale of ailing PSUs

THE Central Government has approved an ambitious plan to sell loss-making PSUs, subsidiaries and select manufacturing plants to strategic buyers. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has allowed for strategic sales through a two-stage auction process. The process will involve submitting...
technical and financial bids. The ailing or loss making PSUs approved for strategic sale include Scooters India, Pawan Hans, Hindustan Newsprint and units of Cement Corporation of India, said a media report.
A call to sell four steel plants of NMDC and Steel Authority of India and merge three state-owned companies with their public sector counterparts was also taken. The government will also sell a 26 percent stake in Bharat Earth Movers Ltd to a strategic bidder, reducing its stake in the company from 54 percent to 28 percent. The strategic sale plan had been prepared by Niti Aayog. The government think tank was assigned to prepare a detail roadmap on ailing PSUs. “The recommendations of the Niti Aayog with regard to both disinvestment and strategic sale came up for consideration. In principle, the Cabinet has approved the recommendations with regard to some of the units. Specific cases would now come up after detailed examination,” said Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said reporters after the meeting.
The government had in this year’s budget set a strategic sale target of Rs 20,500 crore. So far, no money has been raised. The department of investment and public asset management (DIPAM) will take up each case separately and hold discussions with the respective administrative ministry about the suitability as well as the modality of strategic sale.
The government has identified seven loss-making entities where it will sell its entire stake to a strategic bidder. These are Scooters India, Bridge & Roof Company India Ltd, Project & Development India Ltd, Development India Ltd, Pawan Hans Ltd, Bharat Pumps &Compressors Ltd, Central Electronics Ltd, and Hindustan Prefab Ltd. Three companies — Hospital Services Consultancy Corporation Ltd, National Project Construction Corporation Ltd, and Engineering Project (India) Ltd — will be merged with similarly placed central public sector companies.
The plan also includes outright sale of subsidiaries and individual plants of companies. Hindustan Newsprint Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Hindustan Paper Corporation, and Ferro Scrap Nigam, a wholly-owned subsidiary of MSTC will be sold through a similar two-stage auction to strategic buyers.
Hindustan Organic Chemicals Ltd will sell its entire stake in Hindustan Fluorocarbon completely. Cement Corporation of India will divest its production units independently or in a group of units to strategic buyers.
Four steel plants have also been identified as sale. These include Bhadrawati, Salem, and Durgapur units of Steel Authority of India, and Nagarnar Steel plant of NMDC.
In such cases, the valuation and the process will be sorted out by the core group of secretaries on disinvestment. “Some of these are important units… each unit would be considered in its own merit, the timing of that would be decided by the government accordingly,” said Jaitley.
The government has set a target of raising Rs 56,500 crore through direct stake sales this year, but so far it has raised only around Rs 4,000 crore. It has, however, managed to raise Rs 21,000 crore by nudging five state-run firms to go for share buyback.

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