Country’s largest telecom operator BSNL will hold its board meeting on Wednesday to discuss growth strategies and challenges, including its listing plan which is facing stiff opposition by its employees unions with over three lakh staff under its fold.
“It (discussion on IPO) may come for discussion in the board meeting on August 27… nothing concrete yet”, BSNL CMD Kuldeep Goyal told PTI.
The decision on the initial public offering (IPO) of shares has brought the company in direct conflict with its employee unions, which have threatened to go on an indefinite strike if the public sector company goes ahead with the plan.
On the IPO prospects, he said, “Employees acceptance is a critical to the process to start and succeed...We are in no hurry for the IPO. Just trying to make the groundwork. We have made no tangible progress towards any consensus on IPO.”
Goyal’s disappointment stands contrast to his exuberance few weeks ago when he had said the management of BSNL is seeing some positive response from the unions.
A senior official of the PSU said now Department of Telecom, not BSNL is holding discussions with the union.
“The basic activity has not started,” Goyal said. “We are waiting for the union to understand and give us some sort of acceptance. This is a key requirement of the start-up process.”
The board has already cleared the company’s proposed $10 billion listing plan, with divesting 10 per cent stake of the government’s 100 per cent holding.
Meanwhile, Denying rumours that BSNL would be privatised, Union Minister of State for Telecom and IT, Jyotiraditya Scindia has said the public sector telecom major is only thinking of coming out with an IPO and that too with a cap of 10 per cent only. “There is no plan to privatise BSNL, but thinking is going on coming out with an IPO with a cap of 10 per cent only,” Scindia told reporters.