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No decision on Balco sale

business Updated: Feb 19, 2009 23:46 IST
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The meeting on the government’s 49 per cent residual stake sale in Bharat Aluminium Company (BALCO) at the ministry of disinvestment on Thursday remained inconclusive. The stake sale has been hanging in the air for over four years now.

“No decision has been taken yet,” a government source said.

The country’s largest copper producer, Sterlite Industries, which has a 51 per cent stake in the company, is in the running for the stake but past differences in valuation prevented a decision on the call option.

In 2006, the Attorney General had called Sterlite’s call option as illegal and ultra vires. Sterlite had offered Rs 1,099 crore for the residual stake in 2004 while CAG’s report had pegged a much higher value.

Sterlite had bought controlling stake in Balco in 2001 at a cost of Rs 551.5 crore. The deal had generated a lot of controversy with opponents of the sale locked into a bitter struggle with the government in the apex court. The latter had then ruled that the sale had not violated any norms and the legislature was the appropriate forum to deliberate policy matters, which could not be agitated before judiciary.