By selling the entire 18.28 per cent stake, the Government can get more than Rs 2,000 crore.

Our Bureau

New Delhi, Sept. 14

THE Government is open to selling its residual 18.28 per cent stake in Maruti Udyog Ltd (MUL) as it needs funds to meet its commitments of social reforms, the Minister for Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises, Mr Santosh Mohan Dev, said here on Wednesday.

Earlier this month, the Cabinet had approved sale of 8 per cent stake in MUL to public sector banks and financial institutions on a competitive bidding basis with the market price as the bench mark. Sale of 8 per cent stake at present market value would fetch the Government close to Rs 1,000 crore, it was estimated. By selling the entire 18.28 per cent stake, the Government can get more than Rs 2,000 crore.

Talking to presspersons on the sidelines of a conference here, Mr Dev said talks were on with Oil and Natural Gas Corporation for selling Government stake in Tide Water Oil, a subsidiary of Andrew Yule and Company.

Apart from Tide Water Oil, the Government also plans to sell the electrical equipment business of Andrew Yule, he said. Earlier, addressing the annual conference of the Chief Executive Officers of public sector enterprises (PSEs), Mr Dev said his Ministry is looking to sell excess land with public enterprises to fund their revival as was done successfully in the case of National Textile Corporation (NTC).

Out of the total Rs 4,697.14 crore required for reviving NTC, the sale of land of five mills in Mumbai netted more than Rs 2,000 crore.

"We are looking at the possibility of selling excess real estate assets with the loss-making public sector companies to raise funds for their revival," Mr Dev said and added that the funds raised by selling excess land with PSUs would be ploughed back into the same company.

In July, a part of the land owned by Hindustan Machine Tools in Bangalore was sold for raising funds for the company. The highest bid had come from a private player but it was not able to furnish the complete amount; so the land was sold to the Government at a big price, he said.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated September 15, 2005)
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