Directive on PSU listing opens disinvestment tap

Proceeds to directly fund social sector schemes till March 2012.


Big push

All listed, profit-making units to meet the mandatory minimum of 10 per cent public ownership.

All unlisted profitable PSEs have to get listed.

Eligible candidates include behemoths such as NMDC, MMTC, Neyveli Lignite Corporation, Rashtriya Chemicals and Fertilizers, National Fertilizers, Coal India, BSNL and Engineers India


Our Bureau

New Delhi, Nov. 5 Giving its disinvestment programme a big push, the Centre has asked all listed, profitable central public sector enterprises (CPSEs) to meet the mandatory listing norm of at least 10 per cent public ownership.

It has also asked all unlisted CPSEs with positive networth, no accumulated losses and a net profit track record in the three preceding consecutive years to get listed.

Both these decisions are likely to lead to a slew of equity offerings including follow-on public offerings (FPOs). The eligible candidates include behemoths such as NMDC, MMTC, Neyveli Lignite Corporation, Rashtriya Chemicals and Fertilizers, National Fertilizers, Coal India, BSNL and Engineers India.

Timing decision

No time-frame has been specified for the CPSEs to comply with the decisions, but the timing decisions are likely to be governed by market conditions.

The Government has also decided to change the rule on use of disinvestment proceeds by altering the basic scheme underlying the National Investment Fund (NIF) that was launched in 2005. While the disinvestment proceeds would continue to be channelled into the NIF, for the 2009-12 the mop-up would be used as capital expenditure in social sector schemes determined by the Planning Commission and the Department of Expenditure.

Special dispensation

"In view of the tight fiscal situation and the need to fund social sector programmes, a special dispensation is being made for the three-year period 2009-12," Mr P. Chidambaram, Union Home Minister, told reporters after the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) meeting here.

He clarified that the money garnered so far this fiscal from the stake sale in NHPC and OIL India would not be governed by the new rule. An official statement said that the corpus comprising deposits from April 2009 till March 2012 would be available in full for investment as capital expenditure in specific social sector schemes.

Hitherto, disinvestment proceeds were channelled into NIF and the corpus handed over to fund managers. Only the returns from the corpus were used for social sector spending.

The earlier position will be restored from April 2012.