Govt invites bankers to manage NTPC stake sale

Govt invites bankers to manage NTPC stake sale

Mumbai: India has invited proposals from merchant bankers to manage the government’s proposed 5% stake sale in leading utility NTPC, which could fetch about $1.9 billion at current market prices.

The proposals must be made by 3 December, the government said in an advertisement in the Economic Times newspaper. The invitation is also for a 10% stake sale in unlisted state power producer Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam.

The government had approved in October the stake sale in NTPC and Satluj, which analysts have said reflects the country’s resolve to speed up reforms and raise more resources for social schemes.

The government has also said unlisted state firms making profits in the past three consecutive years should list, and all profitable, listed state firms must have at least 10% of their shares in public hands.

Birla Sun Life Insurance estimates possible stake sales in state firms can fetch the government $18 billion over the next 15 to 20 months.

Divestment, raising foreign investment limits in insurance and opening up the pensions sector are the key challenges faced by the Congress Party-led coalition since its re-election in May, even as it strives to cut fiscal deficit and accelerate growth amid a global slowdown.