The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Nalco public offer by November

Mumbai, May 30: The government expects to start public offering for Nalco, the largest public sector aluminium company, by the end of this calendar year.

“Unless a meteor falls,” Arun Shourie, Union disinvestment minister, hopes the first stage of the aluminium major’s privatisation to be completed by November.

Speaking to newspersons on the sidelines of Maruti Udyog’s roadshow for initial public offering here today, Shourie said, “The government expects to begin both domestic and overseas public offerings for Nalco by November even though a final date for the same will be fixed depending on the advisers’ recommendations.”

The government currently holds an 87.15 per cent equity in Nalco. The disinvestment ministry had planned to offload 29.15 per cent of the government’s stake in the company and hand over management control to a strategic partner.

But the Nalco selloff issue was mired in controversies as political parties and the state government of Orissa went against it.

Shourie said Nalco’s public offering would be through American depository receipt (ADR) and domestic public offerings, via a book-building route as was being done in Maruti Udyog.

Meanwhile, the government is planning to complete the divestment process in National Fertilisers, Engineers India Ltd, Shipping Corporation of India, Hindustan Copper, Balmer Lawrie and Hindustan Organic Chemicals Ltd within the next three to four months, Shourie said.

Regarding BSNL-MTNL merger, Shourie said Narinder Sharma, chairman and managing director of MTNL, has been asked to submit a plan for its future.

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