Govt likely to sell 10% stake in IOC under plan B

The issue may be executed this financial year if CIL and ONGC stake sale is put on hold due to weak market activities

GN Bureau | January 15, 2015

The government is planning to raise Rs 8,000 crore through stake sale in India's largest state-owned refinery, Indian Oil Corporation (IOC).  The issue may be executed this financial year ending March, if other big companies like Coal India and ONGC are not divested.

ALSO READ: Offer for sale: is this real disinvestment?

Offer for sale: is this real disinvestment?

The government is going ahead with sale of stake in Power Finance Corporation (PFC) and Rural Electrification Corporation (REC). This year’s plan may include NHPC, Nalco, Hindustan Copper and NMDC.

Meanwhile, media reports said that the department of disinvestment, under the ministry of finance, has moved a draft note to the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs for selling 10% stake, or 24.27 crore shares, in IOC through the 'offer for sale' route.

The department has the approval and the timeline will be decided depending on the market situation. The government has floated a cabinet note for stake sale in IOC almost a year after ONGC and OIL picked up 5% stake each in the company in an off-market deal. This had yielded the government around Rs 5,340 crore.

Following the recent slide in the share prices of public sector behemoths such as Coal India (CIL) and Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), the finance ministry is reconsidering its plan of selling stakes in IOC and BPCL. ONGC, because of subsidy-sharing concerns and falling crude prices, is down 28% from its June highs, while CIL had slipped considerably (almost14% from its June highs) on worries over easing commodity prices and labour trouble.

However, given the government’s tough fiscal deficit target and an expected shortfall of Rs 1.05 lakh crore in tax revenue, it seems unlikely that the finance minister will be willing to forego the stake sale in CIL and ONGC.



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