Centre to begin bidding for privatization of CONCOR in January

The centre will most likely invite preliminary bids for privatising Container Corporation of India (Concor) in January, an official said.

Besides, the approval from the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) for demerger of non-core and land assets of Shipping Corporation of India (SCI) is expected to come in this month, following which the government may invite financial bids for SCI in March or April, the official added.

While in the current fiscal ending March, no further strategic stake sale is expected, the government is likely to push for minority stake sales to inch towards the budgeted disinvestment target of Rs 65,000 crore.

“We are not chasing the target. Wherever we see value, we will disinvest,” the official said.

So far, the centre has received Rs 28,383 crore through CPSEs (Central Public Sector Enterprises) stake sale and buyback.

As per the official, the conclusion of strategic sale of BEML, HLL Lifecare and Shipping Corporation would spillover to the next fiscal.

The approval from MCA for non-core asset demerger for Shipping Corporation is expected this month. It takes about two months from the approval to list the demerged entity, following which financial bids for Shipping Corporation would be invited, the official said.

The government is selling 63.75 per cent in Shipping Corporation of India, along with the transfer of management, and had in March 2021 received multiple preliminary bids for buying the stake. However, the demerger process got delayed.

The board of Shipping Corp in March 2022 gave go ahead to an updated demerger scheme for hiving off the non-core assets of SCI to Shipping Corporation of India Land and Assets Ltd (SCILAL).

As per the balance sheet of SCI, the value of non-core assets held for demerger as of March 31, 2022 stood at Rs 2,392 crore.

It is expected that by the next fiscal year, the strategic sale of Concor will most likely be concluded, as it takes about 10 months for the process to be completed.

The Cabinet, in November 2019, had approved strategic sale of a 30.8 per cent stake, along with management control, in Concor out of the government equity of 54.80 per cent. The government will retain 24 per cent stake post sell-off but without any veto powers.

“Concor is still work in progress. We will try to bring the EoI (Expression of Interest) by January,” the official said.

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