Govt to sell stake in ONGC, BHEL

The government is moving ahead with plans of disinvestment in blue-chips ONGC and BHEL through the auction route to raise about Rs 14,500 crore within the current fiscal itself.

The decision on stake sale is likely to be taken at a meeting of the Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) on February 15, according to sources.

While the ONGC stake sale through the auction route is expected to yield Rs 12,000 crore, the BHEL might fetch the government about Rs 2,500 crore.

According sources, the exact amount of disinvestment and the price would be decided by the EGoM, which is headed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee.

“The Disinvestment Department has sent the paper for ONGC stake sale to Finance Minister and a reply is expected within 2-3 days,” official sources said.

As regards ONGC, the government proposes to sell 5 per cent equity through the auction route that allows promoters to dilute their stake in the company. The government holds a 74.14 per cent stake in ONGC and post the five per cent stake sale, its holding would come down to 69.14 per cent. At the current market price of Rs 280 a piece, the stake sale would fetch the government Rs 12,000 crore.

In case of BHEL, the government is likely to offload 10 per cent stake. Sebi has issued norms allowing promoters to sell stake by way of auction, through a separate window on the BSE and the National Stock Exchange, that has to be completed within a day.

Earlier this month, the EGoM met to decide on the route for ONGC disinvestment, but the meeting remained inconclusive. It also did not discuss BHEL disinvestment as Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises Minister Praful Patel was not present. The government had envisaged to raise Rs 40,000 crore in the current fiscal through PSU disinvestment, but with over 10 months already over it could mop up only Rs 1,145 crore.

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