New Delhi: The government is considering divesting some of its stake in the country’s largest steel producer SAIL and the same may be discussed in the PSU’s board meeting scheduled Friday.
The equity sale could go along with the proposed public issue of the PSU and it is likely to be discussed at its upcoming board meeting, a top steel ministry official said, requesting anonymity.
When contacted, steel secretary P K Rastogi said: “It is too premature to talk about that (disinvestment). But, right now we are in talks (with SAIL) assessing their funding requirement. Let everything regarding public issue and fund requirement get crystallised.”
SAIL is awaiting the steel ministry’s approval for its proposed public issue to raise funds to part finance its Rs70,000-crore expansion project.
A senior SAIL official, too, said the equity-sale could possibly accompany the proposed public issue. SAIL’s board has already approved the public offer.
However, the quantum of the proposed disinvestment could not be verified. But, the SAIL official said the measures would be taken in a way that the government’s holding in the firm does not fall below 75%.
The government currently owns 85.82% stake in SAIL. Besides, about 4.59% is with the Life Insurance Corp and the rest is with the public.
SAIL has a capex programme of about Rs10,300 crore for the current fiscal, half of the amount would come from debt.
The company’s shares closed almost flat at Rs162.35 on the BSE.
The company is in the process of expanding its annual production capacity to about 23 million tonnes by 2012 from the present 14 million tonnes. SAIL chairman S K Roongta said the company “is firming up plans to take it to 26 million tonnes” thereafter.