India shortlists Goldman, 5 others for NTPC share sale sources

MUMBAI, Jan 6 — India has shortlisted six banks, including Goldman Sachs, Citigroup and Morgan Stanley, for a selldown of state shares worth US$2.3 billion (RM7 billion) in power producer NTPC Ltd, three sources with direct knowledge of the sale said. 

Others shortlisted by the Indian government’s department of disinvestment for the NTPC offering are Deutsche Bank and India’s SBI Capital Markets and Kotak Mahindra Capital, the sources said today. 

All three sources declined to be identified because they were not authorised to speak to the media before an official announcement. 

India’s cabinet approved a 9.5 per cent stake sale in NTPC in November to help rein in its ballooning fiscal deficit. At current market price, the sale could raise as much as US$2.3 billion for the government. 

The NTPC stake sale is likely to be completed by the end of this month, two of the sources said. 

Selling some shares in state companies is a central plank of the government’s plan to bring down a widening fiscal deficit, a major weakness that has triggered repeated warnings of a credit downgrade from global ratings agencies. 

The government is aiming to raise US$5.5 billion from such partial privatisations in the current fiscal year that ends in March. The faltering divestment programme got a boost from a US$1.1 billion offering of miner NMDC Ltd last month. 

Before the NMDC selldown, the government had raised just US$148 million in the current fiscal year in a process hit by volatile markets and wrangling among government officials. 

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said last month India would speed up the sales to revive the stock market and would push ahead with reforms aimed at spurring an investment recovery in the flagging economy. 

The government is also looking to offload some of its stakes in the Steel Authority of India Ltd, NALCO and Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd over the next few months, but has not set firm timelines. — Reuters


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