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Sunday, Feb 08, 2004

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Industry & Economy - Disinvestment

Hindustan Newsprint sell-off llikely to be deferred

Badal Sanyal

Kolkata , Feb. 7

THE Union Ministry of Disinvestment is understood to have deferred the process of disinvesting the Government's equity shares in Hindustan Newsprint Ltd (HNL) till further notice. The process has been on for over a year.

Altogether nine private parties submitted expression of interests (EoIs) to buy 74 per cent stake of the state-owned Hindustan Paper Corporation's (HPC) total equity in HNL, which has a newsprint manufacturing unit in Kerala with an installed capacity of one-lakh tonne per annum.

Technical bids from the prospective buyers have since been evaluated by the empowered committee set up by the Ministry to exclusively oversee the process of HPC's equity disinvestment in HNL.

After reviewing the technical bids, the committee asked the selected buyers to submit their financial bids by third week of February. But buyers were informed a few days ago that the committee wanted to defer the process of disinvesting HNL's shares.

However, informed sources read between the lines of the empowered committee's decision to defer disinvestments of HNL's shares. Other than the political reason, the sources feel, the Ministry of Disinvestment may prefer to wait till EoIs are received for the purchase of the Government's 74 per cent equity stake in HPC.

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