Coal India will be Fortune 500 company after public listing

"If 10 per cent shares of Coal India are listed tomorrow, within a day it will be in the list of fortune 500 companies," Board for Reconstruction of Public Sector Enterprises (BRPSE) chairman Nitish Sengupta told reporters in the Capital.

He said it is only after a public sector company is traded on the stock markets its real valuation is unlocked. "Only when shares are listed, people will come to know what a great company it is. One should never oppose such listings," Sengupta said.

The Fortune 500 list features the world's largest companies ranked on the basis of their annual revenues. Eight domestic companies, including oil major IndianOil, and Reliance Industries, have made it to the coveted list.

A 10 per cent divestment in CIL, the world's largest coal producer, is billed to be the biggest IPO (about Rs 15,000 crore) after that of Reliance Power in 2008.

The divestment in the over Rs 52,000-crore (turnover) CIL is being opposed by the Left trade unions.

Sengupta said BRPSE is in favour of listing all the PSUs and there should not be any apprehension on government losing control of these companies as majority of the stake would remain with it.

"People should know that the government is not giving up control of the company. Only some share are sold for listing purposes," he said.

Of the top 10 firms on the BSE by market capitalisation, five are public sector enterprises including SBI.

Sengupta said since the beginning of the 21st century, PSEs have shown "remarkable capacity" for increasing both production and profit. "While there was great dislocation of all the economies of North America and Europe, our public sector not only stood its ground during this period but also went on to achieving new heights in production and profit," he pointed out.

He said the government's focus is not only on profit- making CPSEs but also on the problems of sick ones. He said due to efforts of BRPSE and the administrative ministries, sick/loss-making CPSEs have started showing positive results. Out of the 39 CPSEs approved for revival so far, 20 have posted profit in 2008-09 and 15 posted profit in 2007-08 and 2008-09.

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