Insurance major rescues Indian Oil from slipping on manic Monday

Disinvestment secretary Aradhana Johri admits that the government did not expect a global meltdown on Monday

GN Bureau | August 25, 2015


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Disinvestment secretary Aradhana Johri said it was a very difficult day. “Still we are happy to have got the value despite huge volatility,” she said. She should be happy as the government managed to garner Rs.9,379 crore from the sale of 10% of its stake in Indian Oil Corp. Ltd on Monday as domestic institutional investors bailed out the disinvestment while retail buyers stayed away amid a rout on the stock market.

There were no road shows and the plan to sell was unvieled on Friday. The issue didn’t see too much interest from foreign institutional investors.But the majority of the issue was subscribed by domestic institutions. With most investors turning sellers on Monday, the government had to depend on Life Insurance Corp. of India (LIC) to help the Indian Oil issue sail through.

Johri said the government did not expect a global meltdown on Monday. “If the assessment had been that there would be a global meltdown, then naturally you don’t enter the market with that information,” she said.

Asked whether calls were made to LIC and government-owned banks to buy the offer for sale (OFS), Johri said calls were made to all potential investors, including retail investor associations.

Johri said though volatility has increased in recent times, the government will look for opportunities for further divestment. “We have to rethink our strategy. Basically, we have to look at which are the stocks we need to put on the market and where the appetite in the market lies,” she said.

Johri said retail investors have gone by market sentiments and not done real calculations. “They would have still gained given the stock closed at 378 while it was offered at 368 to retail investors after 5% discount,” she said.

Indian Oil shares closed the day at Rs.378.25, down 4.11% on BSE. The floor price for the share sale was set at Rs.387. The share sale was supposed to fetch the government almost Rs.9,400 crore at the floor price.

This is the fourth divestment by the government this fiscal year and the second this month. Earlier, it had divested part of its stakes in Rural Electrification Corp. Ltd (REC), Power Finance Corp. Ltd (PFC) and Dredging Corp. of India Ltd.

On Friday, the government raised Rs.53.4 crore from the divestment of its stake in Dredging Corp., while the PFC stake sale raised Rs.1,600 crore last month and the REC sale raised Rs.1,610 crore in April.

The government is also looking to appoint bankers for divesting a 10% stake in Coal India Ltd, which could fetch it up to Rs.23,000 crore.

Bankers have also been appointed for the sale of stakes in NTPC Ltd, Bharat Electronics Ltd, Engineers India Ltd, National Aluminium Co. Ltd and Hindustan Copper Ltd.

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