New Delhi: The government is looking at listing Railtel, the telecom arm of the Indian Railways, on the bourses by September to off-load up to 25% of its stake and has invited merchant bankers to join it by the second week of next month to take the process forward.

"The Government of India is considering to divest up to 25% paid-up equity share capital in RailTel out of its 100% in the domestic market through initial public offer (IPO)," the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) said, while inviting bids from merchant bankers.

The invitation for bids does not mention when the likely listing would take place. Official sources said all the railway subsidiaries, whether IPO or OFS issues, will be targeted to be completed by December.

The government last month raised 476 crore by selling 12% stake in Rail Vikas Nigam Ltd (RVNL) through an IPO and is also launching an OFS for RITES as well to divest 15% stake.

In current fiscal, the DIPAM is also planning to launch IPOs of two other rail CPSEs - the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corp (IRCTC) and the Indian Railway Finance Corp (IRFC).

The Railway Ministry owns 100% shares of the RailTel Corporation of India, which provides broadband telecom and multimedia network across the country. The company's authorised share capital is 1,000 crore as on date.

Presently, the entire paid-up share capital of 320.93 crore is fully subscribed by the Railways Ministry. Railtel's profit after tax for the fiscal 2017-18 was 156 crore. As on 31 March, 2018, it has a net worth of 1,249 crore.

The government has invited bids from bankers by 11 June. The listing would entail disinvestment of a portion of paid-up equity of RailTel through a prospectus-based IPO in the domestic market.

The government has a target to raise 90,000 crore through PSU divestment in the current fiscal, compared to 84,972 crore raised in 2018-19.

The Finance Ministry has lined up 10 CPSEs, including THDCIL, RailTel and TCIL for IPOs and also to launch sector-specific ETFs to meet the ambitious 90,000 crore disinvestment target for 2019-20. So far, it has raised 2,350 crore.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text.

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