Home / Companies / News /  Vedanta, Meil, Great Eastern, others vie for Shipping Corp

NEW DELHI : Vedanta Resources Ltd, Megha Engineering and Infrastructure Ltd (Meil), and Great Eastern Shipping have submitted expressions of interest (EoIs) for buying out the government’s 63.75% stake in Shipping Corp. of India (SCI), said two people aware of the development.

US-based Safesea Group and a consortium of Foresight Offshore Drilling Ltd SA, Belgium-based Exmar NV and Dubai-based GMS DMCC have also submitted EoIs for buying SCI, the people said, requesting anonymity.

“This (EoI) will be followed by a shortlisting of qualified interested parties, post which RFP (request for proposal) and draft definitive agreements will be shared through a data room created for this purpose. Post this, financial bids will be submitted, and a reserve price will be fixed," said one of the two people cited above. “Once a buyer has been selected, it has to make an open offer to public shareholders to acquire a minimum of 26% shares of SCI."

The government is counting on receipts from stake sales in state-run firms to invest in infrastructure projects to accelerate growth and curb the pandemic through a mass vaccination programme. It seeks to raise 1.75 trillion from asset sales in the next fiscal.

RBSA Capital Advisors LLP is managing the strategic sale of SCI, which carries about a third of India’s shipping freight.

With 59 vessels and 3,281 employees, SCI is the largest Indian shipping company by capacity and is under the administrative control of the ministry of ports, shipping and waterways. It also manages a large number of vessels on behalf of various government departments and organizations.

Spokespeople for Vedanta Resources and Great Eastern Shipping declined to comment. A spokesperson for Megha Engineering confirmed the company’s interest in SCI.

Anil Agarwal-led Vedanta Resources has also submitted an EoI for state-run refiner Bharat Petroleum Corp. Ltd. Hyderabad-based Megha Engineering is also looking to buy a 26% stake in state-run defence equipment maker BEML Ltd.

Queries emailed to the spokespeople for the ministries of finance, ports, shipping and waterways, department of investment and public asset management (Dipam), RBSA Capital and Safesea Group on Sunday night remained unanswered till the time of filing this story.

“We have formed a consortium with two other global shipping majors for participating in the SCI disinvestment. The consortium includes Foresight Group’s flagship company Foresight Offshore Drilling Ltd SA, Belgium-listed shipping company Exmar NV and Dubai-based shipping company GMS DMCC," said Foresight Group founder and executive chairman, Ravi K. Mehrotra.

The Economic Times newspaper on 2 March reported about Safesea Group and Bain Capital-backed ship operator JM Baxi & Co. having submitted EoIs for SCI. It also reported that a consortium of Foresight Offshore Drilling, Exmar and GMS is vying for SCI.

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