For the first time,the government is considering a proposal to disinvest equity in the state-owned Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) in an attempt to shore up investor interest in its stake sale programme for 2012-13.
The strategic area of nuclear power has been kept firmly in the ambit of the public sector so far. But NPCIL may now be a part of the governments disinvestment programme which is expected to focus largely on initial public offers.
Listing is a means of improving corporate governance. We are trying to get as many PSUs as possible to comply with this and are preparing a list of firms that can float initial public offers. NPCIL is one such firm, confirmed Mohammad Haleem Khan,secretary,department of disinvestment.
Apart from sale of government stake,NPCIL could also go in for raising equity from the market to finance its capital expansion plans. The finance ministry is understood to be discussing the proposal with the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE).
Though Khan did not comment on the quantum of disinvestment,sources said the proposed IPO could involve up to 5 per cent disinvestment by government and could raise Rs 1,500 crore.
The question is whether NPCIL can get the type of capital expenditure they have planned in the next five year plan from government resources. If they cant,then they will have to create some market mechanism, said Khan.
When contacted,DAE spokesperson Dr S K Malhotra said he was unaware of any such proposal.
NPCIL currently has a production capacity of 4,780 mega-watt electrical (MWe) from 20 nuclear reactors. It plans to ramp up its production capacity to 10,800 MWe by 2017 and to 14,580 Mwe by 2020-21.