Govt pushes back decision on Nalco divestment to March qtr

NEW DELHI Wed Nov 7, 2012 6:07pm IST

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NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Government has pushed back a decision on divesting stake in state-run National Aluminium Co (NALU.NS) to the January-March quarter, minister of state for mines Dinshaw Patel said on Wednesday.

"It is not happening now. It will happen in the next quarter...After third quarter results we will decide," Patel said, after a panel of ministers met to discuss the share sale. Some media reports had said the issue could be launched as early as this week.

The government plans to sell a 12.15 percent share sale in the company to restart a stalled divestment programme that is crucial to plug the government's widening fiscal deficit. At current market price, the Nalco sale could raise as much as $267 million.

New Delhi aims to raise 300 billion rupees through share sale in state-run companies in the current fiscal year, that ends next March, but has thus far drawn a blank as weak market conditions have deterred public issues or auctions.

(Reporting by Arup Roychoudhury; Editing by G.Ram Mohan)

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