Shipping Corporation of India disinvestment: EoI likely to be out next week

The government is likely to invite Expression of Interest (EoI) for the disinvestment of Shipping Corporation of India (SCI) by next week.

According to sources in the finance ministry, the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) and the board members of the state-owned company will meet next week to finalise the EoI for SCI sale.

“The strategic divestment of SCI is the top priority for the government and next week there will be a meeting to give final touches to the terms and conditions of the EoI document.

If cleared, the government will immediately invite bids for the same. The internal deadline is December 30 so it has to be done before that,” said a finance ministry official.

The government has already initiated the process to sell its entire 63.75 per cent stake in SCI and sources say companies like Essar Shipping, Adani, Vedanta, GE Shipping and Dubai Port World have expressed initial interest in the company.

The finance ministry had appointed Transaction Advisors, Asset Valuers and Legal for privatisation of SCI and the due diligence process is in progress.

The company’s board, had also approved the taking of all necessary actions for implementing “demerger/hiving off” of non-core assets in line with the direction received from the Ministry of Shipping.

Currently, Shipping Corporation has a fleet strength of 59 vessels and is the largest Indian shipping company catering to the overseas and coastal transportation of goods.

Separately, the government has given additional time to the bidders of Air India for submitting a physical copy of the Expression of Interest, which can now be done by December 29.

“In Clause 10.17, reference to “within 7 days of EOI Deadline” (time period for physical copy submission for EOI submitted by email within timelines as per clause 1.2 of the PIM) should be read as “within 15 days of EOI Deadline (i.e. on or before 17:00:00 Hrs of 29th December, 2020)”, a notification by the Finance ministry said.

Consequent to the change, date of Intimation to the qualified interested bidders should now be read as January 5, 2021.

Highest-ever target

For the current fiscal year, the budget has pegged disinvestment proceeds at Rs 2.1 lakh crore. This includes Rs 1.2 lakh crore from CPSE share sale and Rs 90,000 crore from public sector banks.

So far this fiscal, Rs 6,533 crore has been mopped up through CPSE stake sale.