The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Balmer Lawrie valuation flounders

Calcutta, May 11 (PTI): Mumbai-based financial services firm, Mott McDonalds has cancelled the asset valuation exercise of Balmer Lawrie & Co Ltd, which had been earmarked for disinvestment in the last fiscal.

Highly placed sources in Balmer Lawrie said the valuation firm has made it known to the company that the exercise has been put on hold.

However, the revised programme would be drawn up later and information given subsequently, they said.

Sources said the asset valuer was supposed to go to all the units of the company spread across the country. However, the cancellation of the valuation exercise seems that the government might have taken the decision to go slow on the disinvestment process and indulge in some sorts of reality checks.

Although the formal disinvestment schedule mentioned that the entire selloff exercise of the company would be completed by June 2003, it appears that the task might remain undone till the next Lok Sabha polls scheduled in 2004.

The government has decided to offload 61 per cent stake in Balmer Lawrie to private parties. It is engaged in businesses like industrial packaging, grease and lubricants, logistics management, container freight stations, tea, leather chemicals and tours.

When asked whether the government might draw a special dividend from Balmer Lawrie before selling, sources said that it cannot be confirmed at this moment.

The company’s reserves and surplus position stood at Rs 128 crore, which will act as an inducement for private firms to participate in the disinvestment programme.

In the last count, a total number of three firms have remained in the fray, sources said.

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