Even though the Indian government failed to meet its divestment target for FY22 and doesn’t seem close to hitting the mark for FY23, it claims to have raised Rs 4.04 lakh crore via sale of stake in public sector firms since 2014. As the Air India privatisation took a long time, the divestment from Bharat Petroleum also had to be dropped, as stake sale in banks is also far away. Amidst these setbacks, the government will reportedly be inviting expressions of interest for its stake in the container corporation (Concor) of India this month.
Major market players such as Adani and UAE-based DP World are said to be in the race for acquiring the firm, which is crucial for supply chains. The bid documents are almost ready and waiting for clearance from a group of key cabinet ministers, also known as the alternative mechanism. Strategic divestment of a 30.8 per cent stake from the company had been approved by cabinet ministers back in 2019.
Following the deal, the government will still hold on to a 24 per cent stake in Concor, but won’t have a say without veto powers. But investors weren’t clear about licensing fees as well as rain land lease policy, which had held up the stake sale. Now that a revised policy for leasing rail land for cargo has been approved, deal may finally move forward.
Concor is a logistics firm, which is considered as a Navratna PSU under the railways ministry, with 61 container terminals and a workforce of more than 1,300 people.