The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Hurdle to Balmer Lawrie selloff

Calcutta, Oct. 4: Unions of Balmer Lawrie & Co have decided to oppose the government’s disinvestment strategy.

The unions, cutting across all political affiliations, have expressed concern that the company will fall prey to land sharks rather than being taken over by any reputed and serious entrepreneur if the government goes ahead with disinvestment at any cost to garner funds.

“We are not against disinvestment but we feel that the government’s current policy will put the company at the mercy of real estate operators and lead to wanton asset stripping,” N. P. L. Chakrovarty, general secretary, Balmer Lawrie said.

The officers and employees of the Calcutta-based company have demanded that the current ‘EoI’ (expression of interest) floated by SBI Caps be scrapped and a fresh bidding should be called reflecting the true potential of the company.

Tapas Roychowdhury, president of Balmer Lawrie Employees’ Association said, “None of the 16 bidders who have come forward have capability or the synergy to manage the company’s diversified businesses.”

The employees said that it is very difficult for a single company to take over Balmer Lawrie and run it properly. Roychowdhury said that it is almost impossible to resist the government from divesting its stake in the company because it is out to raise funds to meet the shortfall.

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