Sell­off Tar­get Fixed at ₹ 72.5 k cr, Steps to Help Timely List­ings

Govt ex­pects to raise an­other 15,000 crore in the next two months

The Economic Times - - Front Page - Dheeraj.Ti­wari@ times­

NewDelhi: The gov­ern­ment has set a record dis­in­vest­ment tar­get of ₹ 72,500 crore for the next fi­nan­cial year with plans to list rail­way sec­tor firms and gen­eral in­sur­ers, ex­plore merg­ers among state-run oil com­pa­nies and come up with a new cen­tral pub­lic sec­tor en­ter­prises ex­change-traded fund.

The dis­in­vest­ment tar­get, which ex­perts say is achiev­able, has al­lowed the gov­ern­ment to step up cap­i­tal spend­ing while keep­ing fis­cal ex­pen­di­ture in check.

The gov­ern­ment ex­pects to raise an­other ₹ 15,000 crore in the next two months and clock the high­estever pro­ceeds from dis­in­vest­ment at ₹ 45,550 crore at the end of this fis­cal year, against the ini­tial tar­get of ₹ 56,500 crore.

Of the to­tal dis­in­vest­ment tar­get for 2017-18, the gov­ern­ment ex­pects to gar­ner ₹ 11,000 crore from the list­ing of three gen­eral in­sur­ers and ₹ 15,000 crore from strate­gic dis­in­vest­ment. The gov­ern­ment has al­ready ap­proved a set of com­pa­nies for strate­gic stake sales in­clud­ing Bharat Earth Movers and Pawan Hans. In his Bud­get speech, fi­nance min­is­ter Arun Jait­ley said the gov­ern­ment will put in place a re­vised mech­a­nism and pro­ce­dure to en­sure time-bound list­ing of iden­ti­fied state-owned com­pa­nies on stock ex­changes.

“The shares of rail­way PSEs like IRCTC, IRFC and IRCON will be listed on stock ex­changes,” he said, adding that the gov­ern­ment sees op­por­tu­ni­ties to strengthen sta­te­owned com­pa­nies through con­sol­i­da­tion, merg­ers and ac­qui­si­tions.

“Pos­si­bil­i­ties of such re­struc­tur­ing are vis­i­ble in the oil and gas sec­tor. We pro­pose to cre­ate an in­te­grated pub­lic sec­tor ‘oil ma­jor,’ which will be able to match the per­for­mance of in­ter­na­tional and do­mes­tic pri­vate sec­tor oil and gas com­pa­nies,” Jait­ley said.

While brief­ing re­porters, Jait­ley noted that list­ing norms need to be com­plied with in the next fis­cal year. The mar­ket reg­u­la­tor has made it manda­tory for listed staterun com­pa­nies to have a min­i­mum 25% pub­lic f loat. “It is im­por­tant that the gov­ern­ment times the dis­in­vest­ment pro­gramme in a bal­anced man­ner and not leave it to­wards the end of the fis­cal,” said Ja­gan­nad­ham Thunuguntla, head of re­search at Karvy Stock Broking.

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