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Jul 08, 2013 at 05:00am IST

NLC disinvestment: DoD asks Tamil Nadu to appoint officer for talks

Coimbatore: The Department of Disinvestment (DoD) has asked the Tamil Nadu government to appoint a senior officer to discuss its proposal for buying the Centre's five per cent stake in Neyveli Lignite Corporation with the finance ministry. SEBI has already given its consent to TN government's proposal for the stake buyout provided the acquisition is by a qualified state entity.

"I have asked the TN chief secretary to depute a senior officer to discuss the matter with senior officials of SEBI as well as other government departments," disinvestment secretary Ravi Mathur told reporters. He said they would have to hold discussions on the number of state government undertakings which may participate in the process.

The amount of shares to be sold to the state should also be decided, he said, adding that the sale of five per cent stake is expected to yield about Rs 400 crore to Rs 500 crore. Among other issues to be decided is the pricing of the

NLC disinvestment: DoD asks TN to appoint officer for talks

The disinvestment decision has triggered protests in NLC where 30,000 workers have gone on an indefinite strike since July 3.

shares which are to be alloted to the various undertakings, he said.

Moreover, the specified state PSUs should be declared as being qualified institutional buyers, Mathur added. An official statement in Delhi had stated that SEBI was of the view that the proposal could get covered within the guidelines on IPP, but that the exact details have to be worked out.

Agreeing on the details would require discussions between TN government, coal ministry and the disinvestment department, the statement had added. DoD had sought SEBI's views on the proposal, to which the latter had said that five per cent stake should be sold to state PSUs through IPP route.

Also, the acquirer has to be registered with SEBI as a Qualified Institutional Buyer (QIB). The stake sale is being proposed to meet the minimum public holding norm. SEBI has set an August 8, 2013, deadline for all listed central PSUs to have a minimum 10 per cent public shareholding.

TN Chief Minister Jayalalithaa had written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last month saying her state was willing to buy the five per cent equity which the Centre was divesting. Finance Minister P Chidambaram had last week said that the

Centre would consider TN government's offer and sought to assuage employees' concerns saying there would be no change in management or staff policies.

The disinvestment decision has triggered protests in NLC where 30,000 workers have gone on an indefinite strike since July 3.