India to sell IOC and ONGC stakes to domestic investors by March

Nov 12, 2003 01:00 AM

India will sell Indian Oil Corp. (IOC) and Oil & Natural Gas Corp. (ONGC) stakes with a market value of about $ 3 bn to domestic investors by March to help meet a budget target for selling state assets, an oil ministry official said.
The government will sell a fifth of Indian Oil, the nation's biggest refiner, valued at 94 bn rupees ($ 2.1 bn), B.K. Chaturvedi, secretary in the Petroleum Ministry, told. It also plans to sell 5 % of Oil & Natural Gas Corp., valued at 47.3 bn rupees, he said.

Successfully selling the stakes would meet a target of raising $ 2.9 bn in state assets this financial year. The announcement comes as the Mumbai Sensex 30 Index is the best-performing Asian benchmark after Thailand this year in dollar terms, having gained 58 %.
Indian Oil's shares are up 156 % this year, while Oil & Natural Gas, the nation's biggest exploration company, has doubled. The government in June sold shares in its biggest carmaker Maruti Udyog, with investors ordering 10 times as many shares as on offer. The stock has risen 176 % since then.

India also plans to sell shares of other state-owned companies such as CMC and Videsh Sanchar Nigam locally. The official ruled out an overseas sale of shares this year. "An overseas issue will not be possible this year because there is not enough time," Chaturvedi said. The two oil companies follow an April-to-March financial year.
Indian Oil is 82 % government owned. Oil & Natural Gas is 84 % government controlled. The government has failed to meet its asset sales targets in each of the past four years.

Source: Bloomberg
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