No 'distress sale' of three key SAIL subsidiaries: Govt

Government will not go in for "distress sale" of three SAIL subsidiaries – Salem Steel Plant, Visvesvaraya Iron and Steel and Chandrapur Ferro-Alloy – and rather look for a management that will turn around the units, a top official said.

"None of these plants we will like to put as a distress sale. We will like them to come into profit and... better management," Steel Secretary Aruna Sharma said.

Earlier, the government had in-principle approved strategic disinvestment of SAIL's Bhadrawati, Salem and Durgapur (alloy steel plants).

"When I am talking of making the share of the government 49 per cent, (it) is only when we get a good management... If not, there is no point it will take off on its own," she added.

She further said that as of now, there is no proposal of strategic disinvestment for more units of SAIL. "It much depends on what experience we gain here (from the strategic sale of three units of SAIL)," the secretary said.

"This announcement of strategic disinvestment means a minimum of 51 per cent. So, it all depends on efficiency and it is subject to many things. It is under very very initial stages... Now as guided by Department of Investment and Public Asset Management, we will appoint somebody to do the evaluations... There are still a lot of processes it has to undergo," she added.

SAIL had earlier said the government will hold auction to identify strategic buyers for SAIL subsidiaries – Bhadrawati, Salem and Durgapur.

Tasked by the Prime Minister's Office with examining the viability of ailing state-owned companies, Niti Aayog had earlier submitted two separate lists of sick and loss-making PSUs: one comprising those that can be closed down and the other of those that should be privatised through strategic sale.

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