The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Divestment panel lines up four more for sale

New Delhi, Jan. 8 (PTI): The Disinvestment Commission has recommended privatisation of four PSUs, including National Buildings Construction Corporation and Cotton Corporation, besides adding that it would commence work on selloff proposals for as many as 20 PSUs, including Bharat Sanchar Nigam and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam.

In a recent report to the government, the commission suggested sale of a 74 per cent stake in NBCC to a strategic partner, while retaining 26 per cent for three years.

The commission also recommended disinvestment in Indian Medicines Pharmaceuticals Corporation (IMPCL) and Jute Corporation of India (JCI). Further, it said that an appropriate financial and organisational restructuring package should be formulated for the company after consultation with the bidders. The commission added that there was no rationale for the government’s continued presence in the company.

NBCC has an equity base of Rs 120 crore and a payroll of around 3,150.

In the case of Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) where the government holds a 100 per cent stake, it said disinvestment would be conditioned by whether the government decides to retain the minimum support price (MSP) for cotton.

If it sticks to the MSP, then a strategic sale of 51 per cent would be appropriate while holding on to the remaining 49 per cent for three years, the commission said.

In the case of Indian Medicines Pharmaceutical Corporation— set up to produce ayurvedic and Unani medicines—the commission suggested that the government should first attempt to sell its 51 per cent stake to its 49 per cent joint venture partner Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam through a negotiated deal, failing which it could offload its stake to a strategic partner.

The commission felt the sale and offtake of medicines for a period of two years after disinvestment was needed to ensure smooth transition.

Meanwhile, in its latest report to the government, the commission said it has already commenced work on proposals for eight companies, including BSNL, MTNL, Rural Electrification Corporation and Power Finance Corporation.

Others on its list include Central Mine Planning and Design Institute, a Coal India subsidiary.

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