The Centre plans to offload as much as 25 per cent of its stake in subsidiaries of the Railways even in the face of stiff opposition to any stake dilution in entities owned by the transport giant.
The Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) has already begun scouting for a registrar to manage a proposed 25 per cent disinvestment in Rail Vikas Nigam Ltd. September 21 is the deadline for submission of applications.
DIPAM officials said a similar quantum of equity will also be offloaded in the other Railway subsidiaries that have been approved for disinvestment, including IRCON International Ltd, Indian Railway Finance Corp. Ltd, Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corp. Ltd (IRCTC), and RITES Ltd.
“RVNL is a test case. But 25 per cent stake will be sold in all the five rail PSUs. This will not only ensure better revenues, but also help improve the functioning of the firms and get them more resources,” said an official, adding that it is also to achieve the SEBI-set minimum public holding norm of 25 per cent for listed companies.
Following a Budget announcement, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs had in April approved the listing of the five PSUs through public offer of shares up to 25 per cent although the “actual disinvestment of each CPSE along with the mode of raising resources has been delegated for decision on a case-to-case basis to the Alternative Mechanism”.
DIPAM officials said the Centre was keen on offloading stakes in at least RVNL and RITES this fiscal. At present, the Centre owns 100 per cent stake in all these five rail PSUs.
For this fiscal, the Centre plans to raise ₹72,500 crore from stake sales; ₹46,500 crore from minority stake sales. Till now, it has received ₹9,960.12 crore from disinvestment in PSUs including NTPC and the stake sale in L&T through Specified Undertaking of Unit Trust of India. DIPAM is expected to soon issue requests for proposal for the remaining rail PSUs as well.
The move to sell stakes in Railway arms coincides with Piyush Goyal taking over as the new Cabinet Minister of Railways.