President Pratibha Patil said on Monday that the Centre plans to profitable public sector undertakings (PSUs) amid indications the government is giving final touches to a comprehensive programme to sell stakes in a welter of state-controlled companies.
“For providing the common man an opportunity to share in the growth of the central public sector enterprises, the government has decided to list profitable companies on the stock exchanges through a public offer of at least 10 per cent of the equity,” Patil said in her customary address to Parliament heralding its budget session.
Patil’s remarks have rekindled expectations that the budget for 2010-11 to be presented on Friday will unveil a blueprint for disinvestments.
“We believe the finance ministry is likely to ramp up its disinvestment programme in the next fiscal year. We believe revenue from divestitures is likely to surprise on the upside,” said Rahul Bajoria of Barclays Capital.
Last November, the government had decided that the public should hold at least 10 per cent in all listed, profit-making, public sector companies.
It also decided that all unlisted PSUs that have made profit in the past three years and have a positive net worth (assets greater than liabilities) should get listed on stock exchanges. About 50 companies qualify under these criteria.
The Finance Ministry is giving final touches to a comprehensive disinvestment calendar beginning April 2010.
Two PSUs, NHPC and Oil India, have been listed since this government assumed office.