Shipping Corporation likely to consider bonus issue

Smooth flow

Move may be linked with proposal seeking 'Navratna' status.

This will allow greater autonomy in financial, operational decisions.

Mamuni Das

New Delhi, April 19 Shipping Corporation of India (SCI) may consider a bonus issue in the near future. This could be linked with the proposal of SCI seeking 'Navratna' status, which is likely to be taken up over the next few days.

Navratna status would provide SCI with greater autonomy in financial and operational decisions, while allowing it to set up joint ventures internationally relatively faster.

Capital base

SCI, which had surplus and reserves of Rs 4,817.14 crore as on March 31, 2007, had a paid-up share capital of Rs 282.3 crore, and an authorised capital of Rs 450 crore. The company reported a net profit of Rs 176.78 crore for the quarter ended December 31, 2007.

Incidentally, Container Corporation of India (Concor), another public enterprise whose proposal seeking Navratna status is also to be taken up soon, came out with a 1:1 bonus issue recently. Concor capitalised its reserves (which stood at Rs 2,564 crore as on March 31, 2007). "SCI might have to capitalise its reserves on similar lines," said a source.

Other public enterprises whose proposals are lined up for the Navratna status include Coal India Ltd, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd and Oil India Ltd.

Meanwhile, SCI is also likely to enter into an MoU with a private South African shipping company. This may later translate into a joint venture to own vessels, the second such initiative of SCI. Currently, SCI has a joint venture with the Iranian national shipping carrier — Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines or IRISL — where SCI owns 49 per cent and IRISL owns 51 per cent.

The joint venture, Irano Hind Shipping Company, currently has a fleet comprising eight vessels — four bulk carriers, two oil tankers and two container carriers. A top company official said, "We will soon enter into an MoU with a South African shipping company on the lines of Irano Hind. Through the MoU, we would look at co-operation in various areas of shipping."

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