Mumbai: The government will sell 240.4 million shares, or a 5.82% stake, in state-owned Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) through an auction on 22 March, the steel ministry said on Wednesday.

Earlier in the day, a panel of ministers had approved the sale of a 10.82% stake in the steel maker.

The base price for the offer will be made public on Thursday.

The ministry did not elaborate on why the size of the sale had been scaled back. Shares in the company closed 0.4% lower at 65.15 in Mumbai trading. So far this year, the stock has lost 28% of its market value.

At the current market price, the stake sale is worth about $290 million.