So Much For India's Privatization
To India's government, it was a quick, smart way to raise money. But to critics the move looked like a holdup. Facing a $22 billion budget deficit, the government last month forced the country's three big oil and gas companies--90% state-owned--to buy each other's shares from the state's holdings. The deals involving Indian Oil (IOC), Gas Authority of India (GAIL), and Oil & Natural Gas (ONGC) put $1.23 billion in the state treasury but deprived the companies of precious capital. And although the deals technically reduced the state's holdings, the government remains the companies' major shareholder.
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