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NEW DELHI : A ministerial group, comprising Union ministers Nitin Gadkari, Nirmala Sitharaman, and Jitendra Singh, has approved a 210-crore bid by Nandal Finance and Leasing Pvt. Ltd  to acquire state-owned Central Electronics Ltd, the government said on Monday. 

Central Electronics is run by the department of scientific and industrial research.

The process to divest the government’s stake in the company started in 2016 with an in-principle approval by the cabinet committee on economic affairs. After a previous privatization attempt by failed to take off in 2019, the Centre initiated the process in February 2020 through a preliminary information memorandum and a request for expressions of interest.

The reserve price for the deal was 194 crore and the government received financial bids of 210 crore from Nandal Finance and Leasing Pvt. Ltd and for 190 crore from JPM Industries Ltd. 

The entire disinvestment process has been carried out in a transparent manner with due regard to confidentiality of the bidders, the Centre said. 

A letter of intent will be issued before the two parties sign the share purchase agreement, the government said. The deal is expected to be completed in FY22. 

The department of investment and public asset management (Dipam) is processing disinvestment of 17 state-owned enterprises, of which disinvestment of Air India and Air India Express Ltd are at the concluding stage, minister of state for finance Bhagwat Kishanrao Karad told the Parliament on Monday. 

For Air India, the government has selected Talace Pvt. Ltd, the company set up by the Tata Group to acquire the national carrier. 

Other than  Central Electronics, Dipam is processing the ongoing disinvestment of companies like Project & Development India Ltd, Engineering Project (India) Ltd, Bridge and Roof Co. India Ltd, and BEML Ltd, the ministry said. 

The administrative ministries are processing stake sale in various units of India Tourism Development Corp. Ltd, Hindustan Antibiotics Ltd, and Bengal Chemicals & Pharmaceuticals Ltd. 

However, transactions are held up due to litigation in the case of Hindustan Newsprint Ltd and Karnataka Antibiotics & Pharmaceuticals Ltd. 

The government has set a 1.75 trillion disinvestment target for this fiscal and is preparing for the public float of state-run Life Insurance Corp. of India.

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