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Three in fray for Shipping Corp

New Delhi, June 6 (PTI): The rebid for Shipping Corporation of India closed today with the government receiving expressions of interest (EoI) from three companies — Essar Shipping, Videocon and Sterlite Industries. The government is planning to offload 51 per cent stake in the national flag carrier.

“We have submitted EoI for acquisition of the government’s equity in SCI,” an Essar spokesperson said.

However, the rebid for SCI, done to attract foreign shipping lines, met with a lukewarm response with global majors like Qatar Shipping — which had last time put in an EoI along with Aban Lyod — staying out of the race.

When contacted in Doha, Rajiv Pal, manager (business development), Qatar Shipping Corporation, said, “We are not interested (in SCI) this time.”

He did not give reasons for not being interested in bidding for SCI. Great Eastern Shipping Co Ltd, India’s third largest shipping company, too did not bid.

Amongst those who threw their hat into the disinvestment ring for SCI was Videocon, which has opted to go solo.

According to sources in Sterlite, the group has submitted EoI for Shipping Corporation.

In April, the Cabinet committee on disinvestment decided to start afresh the bidding process for SCI to allow foreign investors to bid solo for the company in line with the government’s policy of permitting 100 per cent FDI in the shipping sector.

Earlier, the foreign companies were allowed to retain only 25 per cent equity in SCI and this had prevented a large number of foreign shippers to participate in the disinvestment process.

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