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Thursday, Jul 18, 2002

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Industry & Economy - Disinvestment

Punjab gets down to disinvestment

Neha Kaushik

NEW DELHI, July 17

THE Punjab Government has finally decided to set the ball rolling with regard to the disinvestment of its stake in select public sector enterprises. These include Punjab Tractors Ltd, Punjab Communications Ltd and Punjab Alkalies & Chemicals Ltd.

According to a senior official in the newly created Directorate of Disinvestment, the Government would soon come out with advertisements to appoint an advisor for the disinvestment process.

Meanwhile, the first meeting of the `core group of officers from the Disinvestment Commission' was held on July 15, which made recommendations (including that of appointing an external advisor) with regard to the procedure to be followed during the disinvestment process.

The recommendations were subsequently accepted by the Punjab Cabinet at another meeting held the next day. According to the official, the entire disinvestment process is expected to take approximately six months. The expression of interest will be invited after the appointment of the advisor.

Both Punjab Tractors and PACL are promoted by Punjab State Industrial Development Corporation, which holds a 23.49 per cent stake (worth approximately Rs 225 crore) in PTL and around Rs 25 crore in PACL.

Meanwhile, several tractor companies in the country, including Mahindra & Mahindra, Eicher and Escorts have evinced interest in buying stakes in Punjab Tractors.

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