Darwin Platform Group of Companies bids for Shipping Corporation of India
Darwin Platform Group of Companies bids for Shipping Corporation of India

Darwin Platform Group of Companies (DPGC) on Wednesday said it has put in a bid for Shipping Corporation of India (SCI).

The Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) had invited expressions of interest for strategic disinvestment of its entire stake of 63.75 per cent in SCI along with the transfer of management till March 1.

"DPGC, a leading Indian global business conglomerate with USD 6.4 billion net worth, has entered into the race for the government-owned SCI with its aggressive bidding. The DPGC submitted its 'Expression of Interest' on March 1, the last day for bidding and emerged as a surprise entrant in the race to acquire the SCI," DPGC said in a statement.

There are multiple bidders in the race to acquire Shipping Corporation.

London-based Foresight Group International has also joined hands with two other global shipping majors to submit an EoI for SCI.

Apart from the Foresight Group's flagship company Foresight Offshore Drilling Ltd, the consortium includes Belgium-listed shipping company - Exmar NV and Dubai-based shipping company GMS DMCC.

Ajay Harinath Singh, Chairman and Managing Director of DPGC said the group has submitted its bid which is very aggressive.

"Given the tough competition with several big global players, we have given a very attractive offer for the shareholders of the SCI. Earlier in 2019, we had bid for Jet Airways, but could not get that. Hence, this time we entered into the fray at the last moment with an offer which is very aggressive and would be difficult to decline," he said.

DPGC operates in several sectors, including Banking, Healthcare, Avitronics, Realty, Retail, Energy, Mass Media, and Information Technology.

"We are a debt-free company and would meet the funding requirement for acquisition from our internal sources," Singh said.

In November 2020, the Union Cabinet gave its in-principle approval for strategic divestment of SCI and Container Corp of India Ltd.

However, the plans were delayed due to the pandemic.

In her Budget speech for 2021-22, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had said, "A number of transactions namely Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd, Air India, Shipping Corp of India, Container Corp of India, IDBI Bank, BEML Ltd, Pawan Hans, Neelachal Ispat Nigam Ltd among others would be completed in 2021-22".

For 2021-22, the government has set a disinvestment target of Rs 1.75 lakh crore. In the Revised Estimates, the target has been set at Rs 32,000 crore for current fiscal.

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