The government has initiated the process as part of its plans to sell minority stake in seven PSUs, including bluechips such as IOC, SAIL and NTPC, which have a potential to raise over Rs 34,000 crore.
The Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) has come out with RFPs (request for proposal) for appointing merchant bankers and legal advisors for a stake sale in these PSUs. The other companies on the radar include NHPC, PFC, REC and NLC India Ltd.
According to DIPAM Secretary Neeraj Gupta, no timeframe has been fixed for these disinvestments and the RFPs are merely a decision to appoint merchant bankers.
"The process is routinely done to explore the possibility of disinvestment. There is no imminent disinvestment in any of these PSUs," Gupta said.
An official source said these stake sales will take some time to happen as there are already 12 PSUs for which the government has secured approval from the Cabinet to go ahead with disinvestment. As per the RFP, the government plans to sell 3 per cent stake in Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), 10 per cent each in SAIL, NTPC, NHPC and PFC.
Besides, a 15 per cent stake in NLC India (formerly Neyveli Lignite Corporation) and 5 per cent in REC is proposed to be put on the block. At the current market prices, the stake sale could fetch the exchequer about Rs 34,000 crore, including Rs 13,000 crore from NTPC, Rs 6,000 crore from IOC and Rs 2,500 crore from SAIL.
Besides, a minority stake sale in PFC could fetch Rs 4,000 crore, that in NHPC could garner Rs 3,000 crore, NLC (Rs 2,000 crore) and REC (Rs 1,000 crore).
The government currently holds 58.28 per cent in IOC, 69.74 per cent in NTPC, 75 per cent in SAIL and 74.50 per cent in NHPC. Besides, it holds 90 per cent in NLC India, 67.80 per cent in PFC and 60.64 per cent in REC.
In the 2017-18 Budget, the government set a target of Rs 46,500 crore to be mobilised through minority stake sale and Rs 15,000 crore from strategic disinvestment. In 2016-17 fiscal, the government had raised over Rs 46,247 crore from disinvestment.