September 23, 2019 / 10:18 AM / 2 months ago

Government aims to sell Air India, other firms by March 2020, says official

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Air India is pictured on the tail of the passenger aircraft on the tarmac in Colomiers near Toulouse, France, July 10, 2018. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau/File Photo

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India aims to sell two or three state-owned firms to local or foreign firms to raise up to 600 billion rupees ($8.5 billion) by March 2020, a senior Finance Ministry official said on Monday.

The government planned to sell Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL.NS), logistics firm Container Corp of India Ltd (CCRI.NS) and debt-laden Air India before the end of the 2019/20 financial year, the official, who asked not to be named, told reporters.

The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) had voiced reservations about the Finance Ministry’s past sales of stakes in one state entity to another, which was the case when refiner Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL.NS) was sold to Oil and Natural Gas Corp Ltd (ONGC.NS), the official said.

“The PMO is very clear that we cannot be selling government companies to another government company and then call it privatization,” the official said.

Reporting by Aftab Ahmed; Editing by Edmund Blair

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