Our Bureau

New Delhi, July 29

THE Congress-led United Progressive Alliance Government today confirmed that selling of Government stake in Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL) and Maruti Udyog Ltd (MUL) has been put on hold.

The Finance Minister, Mr P. Chidambaram, told the Lok Sabha today that "Letters have been received from workers' unions and others opposing disinvestment in BHEL. The objections are under consideration. No further decision has been taken in the matter."

Separately, the Minister for Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises, Mr Santosh Mohan Dev, told Business Line that the Government does not plan to sell its residual stake in MUL either to the majority partners Suzuki Motors or through a public offering.

The Ministry of Heavy Industries is the administrative Ministry for MUL and holds around 18 per cent residual stake in the largest domestic car manufacturer. The Ministry also has two members on the company's board.

Asked about the status of selling the residual stake in MUL, Mr Dev said, "The question of disinvestment is only for Government-owned companies. MUL is a joint venture and as such not within the ambit of disinvestment.

"There is no plan regarding the selling of residual stake in MUL and we will not sell now," he said.

In the case of BHEL, in May this year the Government had decided on an offer for sale of 10 per cent equity out of the Government's holding of 67.72 per cent through the book-building process of which 15 per cent was reserved for the company's employees.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated July 30, 2005)
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