Cabinet approves 9.5 pct govt stake sale in NTPC

NEW DELHI Fri Nov 23, 2012 4:01am IST

1 of 2. An employee works on electric pylons at a power station in Greater Noida on the outskirts of New Delhi June 8, 2012.

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NEW DELHI (Reuters) - The cabinet approved on Thursday a 9.5 percent government stake sale in state-run power producer NTPC Ltd(NTPC.NS), a minister told reporters, to help rein in its ballooning fiscal deficit.

At current market price, the NTPC sale could raise as much as $2.3 billion for the government.

The minister declined to be named.

New Delhi aims to raise 300 billion rupees through share sales in state-run companies in the current fiscal year that ends in March 2013. But it has, thus far, drawn a blank as weak market conditions have deterred public issues or auctions.

The government expects to kick start the divestment process on Friday with a sale of 4 percent in state run Hindustan Copper (HCPR.NS) through a share auction.

(Reporting by Nigam Prusty; editing by Rajesh Kumar Singh)

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