(Corrects the percentage of stake being sold in third paragraph in story published on Feb. 5.)
India’s government will sell a stake in power producer NTPC Ltd. (NTPC) this week to raise 120 billion rupees ($2.3 billion), its biggest asset sale in a year.
Ministers approved the Feb. 7 sale today, Disinvestment Secretary Ravi Mathur said in New Delhi, where NTPC is based. The price will be decided tomorrow, he said.
The government, which owns 84.5 percent of NTPC, the nation’s largest power producer, will sell a 9.5 percent stake. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh plans to raise 300 billion rupees this fiscal year through asset sales to fund welfare programs and narrow the deficit, avoiding a downgrade on India’s debt. The country has raised almost a third of that goal so far.
NTPC shares closed little changed at 155.45 rupees in Mumbai. They’ve declined 12 percent in the past year, compared with an almost 12 percent gain in the benchmark Sensitive Index.
India will sell shares in four other state-run companies by March 31, including Steel Authority of India Ltd. and National Aluminium Co. The government last week raised 31.4 billion rupees by selling a 10 percent stake in state-run explorer Oil India Ltd. (OINL), the company said today in a statement.
Finance Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram plans to narrow the budget deficit to 5.3 percent of gross domestic product this financial year from 5.8 percent last year. The government raised train fares and diesel prices last month to help reduce the shortfall.
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