The government will invite financial bids for privatising as many as many as six CPSEs, including BPCL, BEML and Shipping Corp, by January, a top government official said on Wednesday.
Tuhin Kanta Pandey, Secretary in the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM), also invited private players to bid for the CPSEs, which are up for privatisation, along with transfer of management control.
“After 19 years, we will see 5-6 privatisation this year. BPCL is in the due diligence stage. BEML, Shipping Corp, Pawan Hans, Central Electronics, NINL… financial bids can take place in December-January so that we can close it by this year itself,” Pandey said.
The government is selling its entire 52.98 per cent stake in BPCL. Speaking at the CII Global Economic Policy Summit 2021, the secretary said the initial public offering of the country's largest insurer Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) is expected in the January-March quarter of this fiscal. The government has already received multiple Expressions of Interest (EoI) for buying a stake in these CPSEs.
“On LIC IPO, we are working very hard. For the capital market, it will be a very big event in the first quarter of 2022,” Pandey said. The listing of LIC will be crucial for the government in meeting its disinvestment target of Rs 1.75 lakh crore for 2021-22 (April-March).
So far this financial year, Rs 9,330 crore has been mopped up through minority stake sales in PSU and the sale of SUUTI (Specified Undertaking of the Unit Trust of India) stake in Axis Bank.
On Air India, he said the government aims to complete the handover of the national carrier by December.
Last month, the government had accepted an offer by Talace Pvt Ltd, a unit of the holding company of the salt-to-software conglomerate Tata group, to pay Rs 2,700 crore cash and take over Rs 15,300 crore of the airline's debt.
The secretary said that post the experience of Air India sale, going forward the privatisation of CPSEs can be accomplished faster. Cooperation from the private sector is also required. They too have a role to play so that they bid for the CPSEs which are on sale, he said.
“We are moving towards a situation in privatisation, where it is not only in policy but also in action,” said Pandey. Commenting on the new PSE policy, Pandey added that it is a “very bold and clear policy by the government and its implementation would require private sector participation”.
Pandey further mentioned that Prime Minister’s clarion call was to streamline and simplify processes, which would lead to faster conclusions of financial bidding transactions and the private sector will have an important role to play in this regard.
(With PTI inputs)
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