BSNL divestment not on government radar: Goyal news
24 October 2009

The long-anticipated initial public offering IPO of state-owned telecommunications major Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd is not likely to happen anytime soon. Kuldeep Goyal, BSNL chairman and managing director, said in Bangalore on Friday, ''As of now, I do not think it is on the immediate radar.''

''The government has to take a decision on it. We are waiting for the decision,'' he said on the sidelines of the launch of BSNL's pre-paid broadband services in Karnataka. The government would need to time the listings of various public sector undertakings. For BSNL, there is no particular timeline as of now, he added.

BSNL had approached the union government with a proposal to divest 10 per cent of its stake to raise about Rs50,000 crore. The company was hoping to use the funds for expansion.

Goyal also said Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (the other state-owned telecom major) and BSNL are considering a proposal to acquire controlling stake in Kuwait's biggest phone company Zain Telecom. Earlier reports had suggested that the two companies had dropped the idea because it would mean partnering with the little-known Vasavi Group, whose antecedents were considered somewhat suspect.

''We will do the due diligence on the project. If we find it worthwhile, we will go for it,'' Goyal said. He added that they would do the due diligence for both Zain and Vasavi. He said bankers had not been appointed for the project as yet.

''Acquisition of other companies is under consideration as well, but I cannot give any specific details,'' Goyal said.

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BSNL divestment not on government radar: Goyal