Bengal govt appoints consultants for PSUs

Bengal govt appoints consultants for PSUs

Kolkata: The West Bengal government has appointed Deloitte & Touche Consulting India Ltd, and the Indian arms of Mott MacDonald and PricewaterhouseCoopers International Ltd to find strategic partners or restructure 21 public enterprises. It has been struggling with a second round of restructuring for public enterprises since 2005. A cabinet decision has finally been taken for 21 of them.

After the success of its Rs210 crore pilot project restructuring 26 state-run units, the government has now embarked on a more ambitious task of revamping 29 other units, including power and transport utilities, dairy farms, textile mills, information technology- promoting agencies and other utilities. While the restructuring of the power utilities has gone through, the state gover-nment has not been able to restructure the rest of the units.

Of the 21 firms, Deloitte will manage the restructuring of 10. The corresponding number for PricewaterhouseCoopers Ltd (PwC) and Mott MacDonald could not immediately be ascertai-ned. The new managing director of Deloitte & Touche Consulting in the country, Roopen Roy, earlier held the same position in the Indian arm of PwC, which handled the state’s earlier restructuring programme for public sector companies.

“We are awaiting clearance from the Centre for the project," said Sumanta Choudhury, secretary, public enterprise department of West Bengal. The government, whose pilot project is almost entirely sponsored by UK’s department of international development (DFID), is hoping to get the agency’s support for this project too. As the funding would be in the form of a grant, the state government will have to get it cleared by the Centre. As reported earlier by Mint, the restructuring programme ran into rough weather with DFID saying that it would be unable to offer the kind of money the state government wanted it to.

Deloitte’s Roy said the project would require the company to leverage its strengths in consulting and tax structuring. The firm has the task of finding strategic partners for three spinning mills and two dairies in the state’s Durgapur and Burdwan districts. It will be working on the restructuring strategy for two other dairies (the Central Dairy at Belgachia in North Kolkata and the Haringhata Dairy, piggery and poultry farm 60km north of Kolkata, in Nadia district), the state’s Small Industries Development Corporation and its Warehousing Corporation. The government had earlier tried to interest both Indonesia’s Salim Group as well as Reliance Industries Ltd in the Haringhata Dairy Farm, but has now decided to retain the unit and work towards turning it around.

Officials at Mott MacDonald’s Kolkata office declined to comment on the assignment for restructuring public sector units. “It is too early for any discussion right now," said one, who did not wish to be identified.

PwC officials could not immediately be reached.