BSNL earmarks $6 billion for overseas acquisitions; eyes IPO

Kuldeep GoelFlush with a cash balance of Rs30,000 crore ($6 billion), Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) is looking for overseas acquisitions, especially in South Africa, its chairman and managing director Kuldeep Goel said.

Even as it firms up plans for expansion overseas, state-owned telecom firm Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd is still awaiting the government's approval for its initial public offer. The IPO proposal was submitted to the union government over a year ago.  

The telecom major had, last year, proposed to dilute 10-per cent of its equity holding through an IPO, to raise another $10 billion.

However, the offering was put off amid opposition from the employees' union and the Left parties. Now, with the Left parties sidelined after the election, BSNL's hopes have been revived.

''We will have to await the decision of the government. We will start negotiating with employee unions once we get the government's approval," BSNL chairman and managing director Kuldeep Goel told reporters in New Delhi on the sidelines of a conference.    

"We have not submitted any fresh proposal. Our proposal is with the government. If the government decides we have to go for the IPO," Goel said on the sidelines of a conference.

"We will have to await the decision of the government. We will start negotiating with unions once we get the government's approval," Goel added.