India approves 9.5 pct govt stake sale in NTPC - minister

NEW DELHI Thu Nov 22, 2012 8:59am EST

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NEW DELHI Nov 22 (Reuters) - India's cabinet approved on Thursday a 9.5 percent government stake sale in state-run power producer NTPC Ltd, a minister told reporters, to help rein in its ballooning fiscal deficit.

At current market price, the NTPC sale could raise as much as $2.3 billion for the government.

The minister declined to be named.

New Delhi aims to raise 300 billion rupees ($5.5 billion) through share sales in state-run companies in the current fiscal year that ends in March 2013. But it has, thus far, drawn a blank as weak market conditions have deterred public issues or auctions.

The government expects to kick start the divestment process on Friday with a sale of 4 percent in state run Hindustan Copper through a share auction. (Reporting by Nigam Prusty; editing by Rajesh Kumar Singh)

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