Ample time for Neyveli stake sale, says Centre

The government on Wednesday said the proposed stake sale in Neyveli Lignite Corporation (NLC) is "not necessary" this fiscal as this has to be completed before July 2013 only.

"It is not necessary that we have to do it [divest stake in NLC] this fiscal. It is not necessary," Coal Secretary SK Srivastava told reporters on the sidelines of a summit.

"Because this has to be completed within July 31, 2013, it can be carried to the next fiscal also. We will do it within... timeline," he added.

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) has mandated that listed PSUs have to increase public shareholding to a minimum 25 per cent by July 2013. The government had decided to disinvest 5 per cent or over 83.8 million shares of the company through Offer for Sale of shares by promoters through the stock exchanges.

The government, which currently holds 93.5 per cent, has been trying for last six years to sell stake in the PSU. However, opposition from political front as well as trade unions has stalled its attempts several times.

As of March 2012, the Navratna company had a paid-up capital of is Rs 1,678 crore.
The government is also considering allotment of 200 shares each to eligible employees at a discount of 5 per cent to the issue price. NLC reported 20 per cent rise in net profit at Rs 334 crore for the quarter ended September 30 on the back of higher sales.

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