Govt confident of divestment target

Riding on the crest of its successful maiden stake sale of Hindustan Copper this year, the government on Friday sounded confident of garnering the targeted Rs 30,000 crore through divestment in the fiscal year 2012-13.

Finance Minister P Chidambaram said the government has lined up a list of companies for divestment between now and March next year.

“This is the resumption of the divestment process and we will go forward with the disinvestment process between now and March as approved by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs. We will achieve the disinvestment target hopefully,” Chidambaram told reporters.

The government sold around 5.85 per cent stake in Hindustan Copper. The share sale took place on a separate window of the stock exchanges -- BSE and NSE, finance ministry said in a statement.

The Cabinet had on Thursday approved a 9.5 per cent stake sale in the public sector power behemoth NTPC, which together with HCL, is expected to garner more than half the targeted Rs 30,000 crore. Last month, the government had deferred the Rashtriya Ispaat Nigam Limited (RINL) IPO due to a valuation tussle with banks.

Along with RINL, four other public sector undertakings -- NMDC, NTPC, Power Grid Corporation and Engineers India, have been identified for divestment of government’s minority stake in them. Increased divestment in PSUs needed to cap the government’s burgeoning fiscal deficit. Shortfall in achieving disinvestment targets and financing of fiscal deficit through market borrowings will push up yields and crowd out the private investment, said industry sources.

Last fiscal, owing to volatile market conditions, the government had to postpone its sell-off plans and could only divest stake in Power Finance Corporation, ONGC and National Buildings Construction Corporation (NBCC).

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