Coal India to qualify for maharatna status after listing

Coal India to qualify for maharatna status after listing

New Delhi: Coal India Ltd (CIL), which is set to launch an initial public offering (IPO), will qualify for the maharatna status with greater autonomy after listing on the stock market in the next few months.

“As soon as it (CIL) gets listed, it will (qualify to) become the fifth maharatna," secretary in the Department of Public Enterprises Bhaskar Chatterjee told PTI.

CIL, the world’s largest coal-miner with turnover Rs52,000 crore in fiscal 2009-10, would be the fifth large PSU which will qualify for the coveted position that entitles a state-owned firm a greater financial freedom.

ONGC, Indian Oil, Steel Authority of India and NTPC, the navratna firms, have already applied for the new status.

The maharatna tag would give CIL board of directors the financial authority to actively pursue acquisition of mining properties in South Africa, Indonesia, Australia and the US.

The company with about four lakh employees, has set aside over Rs10,000 crore for the capital expenditure, of which Rs6,000 crore is meant for overseas ventures.

A company needs to have a three-year track record of annual net profit of over Rs5,000 crore, net worth of more than Rs15,000 crore and turnover of more than Rs25,000 crore, besides being listed on bourses to be eligible for the maharatna status.

CIL successively has had over Rs5,000 crore profit in past three years.

Chatterjee said that the number of maharatna PSUs is “not frozen ... We have set that line,(criteria) every navratna which crosses that line will become maharatna."

The government had decided in December last year to give more operational freedom to the top-performing PSUs through the maharatna scheme.

At present, 18 state-owned firms, including CIL, enjoy the navratna status.