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IMG to meet next week on BPCL sale

February 13, 2003 17:21 IST

The divestment ministry said on Thursday that the inter-ministerial group on the divestment of Bharat Petroleum Corporation would meet next week to discuss the quantum of shares to be offered in the domestic and global markets.

The ministry also hopes to finalise the appointment of global advisors for the privatisation of state run oil marketing major Hindustan Petroleum Corporation within the next five to six days.

Speaking on the sidelines of a seminar in New Delhi, divestment secretary Pradip Baijal said, "The advisors for HPCL divestment will be appointed in the next five to six days."   

As many as 17 aspirants are in the race for appointment as advisors including UBS Warurg, J P Morgan and DSP Merill Lynch and these merchant bankers would soon be called for making presentations.

The government has decided to offload 34 per cent stake in HPCL to a strategic partner where it currently holds 51 per cent. Another five per cent would be offered to employees reducing government holding to 12 per cent.

In case of Bharat Petroleum Corporation, government holds 66 per cent and will offload 35 per cent stake through public offering (domestic and global) and five per cent to employees at concessional rates. Following divestment, government will be left with 26 per cent stake.

On Nalco divestment where due-diligence has been stalled since November, Baijal said talks would be initiated with stakeholders to move the process forward but declined to commit himself to any time frame for restarting the due diligence.

On the issue of Shipping Corporation divestment, Biajal said a committee of secretaries has to meet to firm up transaction documents, which would then go to the Cabinet for approval.

The government, which holds 80 per cent stake in the national flag carrier has decided to offload 51 per cent stake in the company to a strategic partner.

In the case of Air-India where privatisation has been held up since the last one and half years, Baijal said the time was not ripe for re-starting the process.

He pointed to the instances of turmoil in the global aviation sector following the incidents of September 11.

Asked whether the CCD would meet before the upcoming Parliament session, Baijal merely said they would try to secure a meeting before February 17 when the budget session starts.
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