SAIL appoints bankers for FPO; in talks over timing

"We have made offers to six merchant bankers to manage the first phase of SAIL FPO. Now, they have accepted it. We are in discussion with them on the timeline (of the FPO) and over the draft red herring prospectus," SAIL chairman C S Verma told reporters on the sidelines of felicitation ceremony of the Commonwealth Games medalists.

SAIL had offered the bankers-- JP Morgan, Deutsche Bank, SBI Capital, Enam Securities, Kotak Mahindra Capital and HSBC, to manage its FPO.

"The first phase of the FPO can be launched in mid- December and if we miss that deadline, it can happen in January-February next year," Verma added.Speaking on the occasion, Steel minister Virbhadra Singh said that the government is looking at "opportune time" to launch the share sale program of companies like SAIL and Manganese Ore India Ltd.

The banks will manage the first phase of its 20 per cent share sale programme, under which the government plans to divest 5 per cent of its stake in the company, while the steel giant will issue additional shares equivalent to a 5 per cent stake.

Another 10 per cent stake will be sold under the second phase of the FPO, the timing of which will be decided later. The two-phase FPO may help raise a total of Rs 16,000 crore.
At present, the government holds a stake of a little over 85 per cent in SAIL, and post-FPO its equity in the company is expected to go down to about 69 per cent.

SAIL wants to part-fund its Rs 70,000 crore expansion programme with the proceeds from the share sale, while for the government, the stake dilution will help attain its disinvestment target of Rs 40,000 crore for this fiscal.

Shares of SAIL were trading at Rs 216.80 a share on the Bombay Stock Exchange in the afternoon session, down 1.63 per cent over the previous close

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