“You have to see the markets and look for a window of opportunity. Sometimes you get it right, sometimes you do not. Future disinvestments will depend on the markets. We will have to find where the investor appetite lies,” said Aradhana Johri, Secretary, Department of Disinvestment.
Johri was speaking after Indian Oil Corporation’s offer-for-sale scraped through with the help of institutional investors, such as LIC on a day of mayhem in the market. Retail investors stayed away due to the market volatility and in the hope of getting a better price in the secondary market.
Fed decision on rate hike Johri said while the scale of the Monday mayhem was unexpected, another significant event loomed: the US Federal Reserve’s decision on a rate hike on September 17. While reports in the US indicate that the Fed will hold off a hike, the Department of Disinvestment will keep an eagle eye on the decision. A Fed rate hike can trigger further correction in the domestic market.
While Johri remains confident of achieving the disinvestment target, already excuses of a failure are being trotted out. “I urge the media to compare disinvestment mop-ups to earlier years and to take into account the prevailing market conditions,” she said. In the first half of this fiscal, the government managed to sell minority stakes in three public sector companies — PFC, REC and Dredging Corporation — to raise over ₹3,300 crore. Add to this, the 10 per cent stake-sale in IndianOil mopping up around ₹9,380 crore, taking the total earnings from disinvestment in 2015-16 to around ₹12,600 crore. The target for the fiscal is ₹69,500 crore.