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Coal India May Lead $11 Billion of Share Sales on Public Holding

Coal India Ltd. and NMDC Ltd. are among 36 state-owned companies that may need to sell about $11 billion of shares after the stock market regulator raised the minimum public holding in government entities.

Companies must increase the public float to at least 25 percent from 10 percent within three years, U.K. Sinha, chairman of the Securities and Exchange Board of India, told reporters after a board meeting in New Delhi today.

The decision may help Finance Minister Arun Jaitley raise about 650 billion rupees and provide foreign investors greater access to some of India’s largest mining companies and power generators, according to SMC Global Securities Ltd. Overseas funds have plowed $9.9 billion into local equities this year, the most among the eight Asian markets tracked by Bloomberg.

“It is an excellent opportunity for foreigners to buy quality state-run companies,” Jagannadham Thunuguntla, chief strategist at SMC, said by phone from New Delhi.

Coal India, 90 percent held by the government, will need to sell about 370 billion rupees of shares at current prices to comply, Thunuguntla said. The government will have to sell 35 billion rupees of shares in iron-ore producer NMDC to pare its stake to 75 percent from 80 percent, he said.

Shares of Coal India, the world’s largest producer of the fuel, climbed to a record on June 10.

Private companies complied with minimum float rule in June last year.

The market regulator also eased share-sale rules under the so-called offer for sale route and widened its scope by making it available to shareholders of the top 200 companies by market value. Companies can reserve 10 percent of the offer for retail investors and also give them a discount on the price.

Separately, research analysts would be regulated and would need to register with the regulator to boost transparency and disclosure standards, Sinha said.

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