The 2022-23 Budget has projected a disinvestment target of Rs 65,000 crore for next financial year. This is significantly lower than the estimated Rs 1.75 lakh crore budgeted for 2021-22. In the revised estimates, the target for 2021-22 has been cut to Rs 78,000 crore.
Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) Secretary Tuhin Kanta Pandey said the next year’s target would be met by a mix of minority stake sale in CPSEs, listing of CPSEs and strategic sale.
“We have got multiple financial bids for Pawan Hans, we have to go further on that process. Shipping Corp, BEML and BPCL are in financial bids stage. HLL Lifecare and PDIL are in EoI stage. Besides, next fiscal we will go for listing of ECGC, WAPCOS and National Seeds Corporation and some minority stake sale, but there we might have less bandwidth,” Pandey told PTI.
Asked if Pawan Hans sale would conclude by March-end, he said “we have to see if we can manage. We are yet to open the bids and then some time would be required for getting approvals”.
The Secretary said the process of demerger of core and non-core assets of Shipping Corporation and BEML are going on, post which financial bids would be invited for their strategic sale.
Asked where BPCL privatisation process stands, he said “We are stuck with the bidders and are trying to fast-track it, so that they are ready for bidding.”
The government is selling 52.98 per cent stake in BPCL, 63.75 per cent in Shipping Corporation of India, 26 per cent in BEML and 51 per cent in Pawan Hans. State-owned ONGC too is selling its 49 per cent in the company.
Elaborating on disinvestment target and road ahead, Pandey said strategic sale is an ongoing process and takes about 1-1.5 years for the entire process to come to conclusion.
“That is the reason for rationalising the target, because there are no easy pickings. We only sell the equity value, that’s the government receipt as debt goes (to buyers) along with the company. When we say disinvestment target it is an accounting term, it is not real term”.
The government last month concluded the sale of Air India for Rs 18,000 crore. The deal included Rs 15,300 crore of AI debt takeover by Air India and Rs 2,700 crore cash payment to the government.
“We are into a difficult area and it is much more important for us that certain number of transactions they get carried out. We don’t want market cap of our PSUs to artificially go down just because we are wanting to plug our budget numbers,” Pandey said.
In the current fiscal year, the government has lined up initial public offering (IPO) of the country’s largest insurer LIC, which is expected in March. The draft papers for .the public offer is likely to be filed with market regulator Sebi next week.