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ONGC public offer in first week of March

Our Bureau

New Delhi , Jan. 7

THE Inter-Ministerial Group (IMG) on disinvestment of 10 per cent equity in exploration firm Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) on Wednesday decided to launch the public offer in the first week of March.

The IMG, comprising secretary-level officials from the Ministries of Disinvestment, Petroleum& Natural Gas, Finance and Law, discussed the issue of splitting the shares of ONGC for facilitating greater individual participation during the public offer.

But, it was of the view that a stock-split will not be feasible at the moment given the limited time available with the Government to complete the public offer by March 31, Government sources said. "There will be no stock-split," it said.

Senior officials from Kotak Mahindra Capital Company Ltd, DSP Merril Lynch and Morgan Stanley Pvt Ltd, the book-runners for the public issue, offered their suggestions for the public offer of 14.2 crore equity shares of ONGC which is currently traded around Rs 900 per share.

The draft prospectus for the issue, that could help Government mobilise over Rs 12,000 crore, going by the current market prices, will be finalised and submitted to the SEBI by the end of January.

The IMG also decided to wrap up the public issue well within March, including the share allotment and price fixation, the sources said.

The IMG further decided to stick to the minimum norms prescribed by the SEBI for the allocation of shares to FIIs, domestic financial institutions, high net worth individuals and retail investors. "We will abide by the minimum norms prescribed by the SEBI in this regard," it said.

This is the first time that a listed company, either private or public, is adopting the book-built route to off-load its shares in the market.

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