An inter-ministerial panel on Wednesday cleared a 10.82 per cent stake sale in steel major SAIL and decided that the issue will hit the markets on Friday, a top Finance Ministry official said.
The Empowered Group of Ministers on Disinvestment, headed by Finance Minister P Chidambaram, met and decided on the pricing of the share sale. The base price would be made public only after the close of market hours on Thursday.
In early trade, SAIL scrip touched a year-low at Rs 64.05 on the BSE. It was later trading at Rs 65.80, up 0.53 per cent on the BSE. At the current market price, a 10.82 per cent stake sale could fetch government around Rs 2,500 crore (Rs 25 billion).
"SAIL OFS (offer for sale) has been approved by EGoM. The issue will hit market on March 22," Disinvestment Secretary Ravi Mathur told reporters.
He further said the details of the SAIL stake sale would be informed to the stock exchanges later in the day.
The Department of Disinvestment (DoD) has already held roadshows in Singapore, Hong Kong, US, UK and continental Europe for the proposed SAIL disinvestment. SAIL comes under the administrative control of Steel Ministry.
The merchant bankers for SAIL share sale include SBI Caps, Kotak Mahindra and Deutsche Bank. Post stake sale, the government's stake would come down to 75 per cent.
For the third quarter ended December 31, 2012, SAIL reported a 23 per cent decline in net profit at Rs 484 crore (Rs 4.84 billion) from the year-ago period mainly due to lower net sales realisation amid subdued market conditions.
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs had in July last year approved 10.82 per cent disinvestment in SAIL out of government's 85.82 per cent stake, through the OFS route.