The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Merchant bankers in a flap

Mumbai, Sept. 16: Merchant bankers shepherding plans to sell public sector companies today gave mixed reactions to the verdict barring sale of HPCL and BPCL.

“Those who have not done the due diligence yet are more fortunate,” said one of them who had been working with a bidder for the two oil firms. He said it was a wasted effort for foreign companies that flew down their top officials to craft strategies aimed at helping them get into the lucrative Indian oil market. These included global giants Shell, British Petroleum and Petronas.

Rajiv Saxena, managing director of Lazard India, preferred to see the glass half full instead of half empty. “The uncertainty has been put to rest. While it is a setback in terms of timing, the government will now have a greater clarity on the privatisation process.”

While Pradip Shah of Ind Asia said the union budget will see higher deficits as a consequence, better monsoon and the brighter economic outlook may net in higher tax revenues.

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