Listing of PSUs not before March 2018

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An empowered committee (EC) will guide the entire process of listing

The government on Friday unveiled a plan to ensure time-bound listing of profitable PSUs, but the first listing under the mechanism is unlikely to happen before March 2018.

As per a roadmap for listing finalised by the department of investment and public asset management (DIPAM), the concerned administrative ministry will be required to identify eligible central public sector enterprises (CPSEs) within one month after finalisation of their last year’s financial accounts.

Listing will have to be completed within 165 days after obtaining the administrative ministry’s approval.

Considering that annual audited accounts of CPSEs will be ready by July-August and after that, another month will be required to prepare the list of eligible PSUs, listing can happen only in the last quarter of 2017-18.

It has been decided that an inter-ministerial group (IMG) and an empowered committee (EC) will guide the entire process of listing and ensure that it is undertaken in a time-bound and fair manner.

While the proposed IMG, to be headed by DIPAM secretary along with senior officials from concerned ministries and departments as members, will be mandated to guide the listing process. The EC will be responsible for preparing and filing necessary documents with regulators.

In cases of listing through sale of government of India’s stake, CCEA approval for listing of identified CPSEs will be obtained by DIPAM.

In case of issue of fresh equity in conjunction with the sale of the central government’s stake (piggy-back transactions) for listing, CCEA approval will have to be obtained by the concerned ministry or department.

Appointment of intermediaries in such cases will be undertaken by the concerned CPSE after seeking the advice of the administrative ministry.

Data show that there are a total of 169 unlisted PSUs, of which 142 are profit-making. But only 47 have so far been listed. Now the effort will be to bring the most profitable among the unlisted entities first for listing.

This could include all the five general insurance companies where listing has already been cleared by the cabinet.

It would also include the Airport Authority of India (AAI), Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL), few railway sector companies, subsidiaries of Coal India Ltd and country's sole overseas focused oil and gas entity ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL).

As per the extant disinvestment policy, CPSEs having a positive net-worth, no accumulated losses and having earned net-profits in three preceding consecutive years, be required to achieve mandatory listing norms of 25 per cent public holding for listing on the stock exchanges.

The new road map has been finalised keeping this objective in mind.

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