Vedanta to bid for HZL shares if price lucrative: Agarwal

Vedanta will bid for acquiring remaining government stake in Hindustan Zinc if the price offered is lucrative, its chairman Anil Agarwal said today.

"We will see the process (for bidding for HZL). If it is lucrative, why not," he said.

He was talking to reporters here after a meeting with Economic Affairs Secretary Arvind Mayaram.

On whether he was also proposing to buy residual stake in Balco, another company in which Vedanta had acquired shares from the government, Agarwal said, "We are very neutral.... They (government) are processing it. As and when the process is complete, they will let us know."

London-listed Vedanta at present holds 64.92 per cent stake in Hindustan Zinc Ltd (HZL) and 51 per cent stake in Bharat Aluminium Company (Balco).

The company, in January 2012, had proposed acquiring the government's remaining stake in the two erstwhile PSUs for about Rs 17,275 crore.

In October 2013, the shareholders gave their nod to raise offers for acquiring the remaining government stake in HZL and Balco by up to 43 per cent or up to Rs 24,663 crore.

After shareholders approval, Vedanta Board is now empowered to make an offer of up to Rs 21,636.56 crore for the remaining government stake in HZL. For Balco, the offer can be up to Rs 3,026.14 crore.

Last month, Cabinet had approved government's residual stake in HZL. The stake sale would happen by way of auction route. The market capitalisation of HZL currently stands at Rs 52,900 crore.

The government has budgeted to collect Rs 14,000 crore by selling its residual stake in private companies this fiscal.

Majority stakes in the two erstwhile PSUs were sold to Vedanta group during 2001-2003.

HZL was sold to Vedanta in two tranches during 2002-2003.

Vedanta holds 64.92 per cent stake in HZL through its subsidiary Sterlite Industries (now Sesa Sterlite). Over the years, HZL has become Vedanta's richest profit-making subsidiary and had cash and cash equivalent of Rs 23,632 crore as of September, 2013.

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