Mumbai: The Left parties are planning a concerted move to counter the government's decision to sell 10 per cent equity in the two profit-making PSUs - National Aluminium Company (Nalco) and Neyveli Lignite Corporation (NLC). CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury, who made the statement in New Delhi, said this would lead to further rounds of disinvestment in these companies.
He said senior Left leaders would meet soon to chalk out a counter strategy.
Yechuri said Nalco had raised resources for its Phase-II expansion on the strength of its equity base. The decision to sell Nalco's equity will result in increasing its debt component and that would affect the company's health, he pointed out.
"The decision would be forcing the company to further disinvest if it wants to expand. If it is further disinvested, the government will lose its control over the entity," he warned. He said this seems to be what "the government exactly wanted. They are forcing the PSUs which are disinvested to further disinvest."
A statement released by the CITU said: "Earlier, disinvestment of 12.85 per cent of Nalco had led to acquisition of 1.15 per cent share by its competitor Hindalco and 2.19 per cent by foreign institutional investors. CITU apprehends the entry of FIIs, Hindalco and Sterlite Group through disinvestment process in Nalco."
The fresh round of disinvestment, planned through the public offer route, would dilute government holding in Nalco to 77.15 per cent from the current 87.15 per cent. In NLC, the government would hold 83.56 per cent post sale against the current 93.56 per cent.
The Centre for Indian Trade Unions (CITU), an affiliate the CPM, had on Friday alleged that the decision to disinvest government stake in Nalco was influenced by Chidambaram's relationship with Anil Aggarwal-promoted metals company, Vedanta Resources.
"The finance minister was on the board of Vedanta... the sale of stake in Nalco would benefit Vedanta's aluminium company Balco," an office-bearer of the CITU said.
A flash one-day strike had on Friday brought production at Nalco's Angul smelter to a complete halt. The Angul plant, with a capacity to produce 950 tonnes of aluminium per day, employs 4,500 of Nalco's total workforce of 7,000. The rest are deployed at its bauxite mines and refinery located at Damanjodi in Koraput district.
NALCO, India's leading producer and exporter of alumina and aluminium, has reported a 40 per cent leap in profit after tax at Rs608.02 crore for the quarter ended March 31,compared to Rs434.24 crore in the corresponding period of the previous fiscal. The company has closed the financial year 2005-06 with the highest-ever net profit of Rs1,564.65 crore, recording an increase of 27 per cent over the previous year's figure of Rs1234.84 crore.
NLC,ranked 56th among India's top 500 companies by Dun & Bradstreet Information Services, has been earning profit for more than two decades. NLC reported profits above Rs1,000 crore for the past two years. NLC has also projects worth Rs14,000 crore on the anvil nation-wide.