Select companies for disinvestment from well-performing sectors

Disinvestment candidates should be selected from sectors which are performing well in stock markets and stake sale in PSUs should not be just for fund raising, a top government functionary said here today.

"I think we should look at sectoral performance (of PSUs) and some sectors are doing well on stock markets," he said.

Stating the example of stake sale in NMDC, he said the company did well in terms of disinvestment because it is a resource firm and also a sought-after scrip on stock exchanges compared to some other PSUs operating in sectors like capital goods.

The NMDC's 10 per cent stake sale was oversubscribed 1.73 times in December, fetching the exchequer Rs 6,000 crore on good participation from FIIs and state-run insurer LIC.

Asked whether the disinvestment target for this fiscal is achievable, the official said, "We should try certainly because of the fiscal constraints."

This should, however, be balanced with real price, otherwise there is no meaning selling it for the sake of raising funds, he said. "May be in the next six months or a year, we can sell it at a much higher price."

In the 2012-13 Budget, the government had targeted raising Rs 30,000 crore through disinvestment in PSUs.

So far in the current fiscal, the government has been able to fetch over Rs 6,900 crore from the stake sale in PSUs like Hindustan Copper, NBCC, and NMDC.

In 2011-12, the government had raised about Rs 14,000 crore.

The pipeline of candidates for disinvestment in this financial year is long and includes over 10 blue-chip such as NTPC, BHEL, MMTC and Oil India.

The government plans to raise funds through disinvestment to contain the rising fiscal deficit. The government has set the fiscal deficit target at 5.3 per cent of the gross domestic product in 2012-13.

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