India to Sell 10% Stake of State Refiner Valued at $1.45 Billion

India plans to sell a 10 percent stake in Indian Oil Corp., the nation’s largest state-run refiner, as the government accelerates a federal asset-sale plan.

The sale of up to 242.8 million shares may raise about 95.9 billion rupees ($1.45 billion), based on the closing price of Indian Oil’s stock in Mumbai on Friday. The government will announce on Saturday the benchmark price at which the shares will be sold through the nation’s main exchanges on Aug. 24, the company said in an exchange filing.

The collapse in crude oil prices and scrapping of government control over pricing of automotive fuel have helped refiners including Indian Oil to return to profit in the June quarter. That may lure investors to the share sale and allow Prime Minister Narendra Modi to mobilize funds to spend on various welfare programs in Asia’s third-largest economy.

“It’s a great time to do the sale,” Aradhana Johri, secretary for disinvestment at the Finance Ministry, told reporters in New Delhi on Friday about the Indian Oil stake sale. “There is excellent appetite for the stock.”

Indian Oil shares closed 0.7 percent lower at 394.85 rupees in Mumbai on Friday, compared with a 0.9 percent decline in the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex. The stock has rallied 19 percent this year, extending a 55 percent surge in 2014.

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