NEW DELHI The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the government to not proceed with any sale of its minority stake in Hindustan Zinc(HZNC.NS), a senior government official said, further delaying majority owner Vedanta Resources Ltd's(VED.L) bid to take total control.
"We were not in a hurry anyway," Mines Secretary Balvinder Kumar told Reuters. "We will go by what the court says."
The union cabinet approved a stake sale in Hindustan Zinc in 2014 but a group of central government officers approached the court to stop the divestment without parliamentary approval. The court will hear the matter further.
Billionaire Anil Agarwal-controlled mining conglomerate Vedanta Resources Plc (VED.L) holds 64.92 percent of Hindustan Zinc's shares, while the government is the second-biggest owner with 29.54 percent, according to Thomson Reuters data.
Around two years ago Vedanta offered about $2.94 billion for the government's stake in Hindustan Zinc, whose total current market capitalization is more than $8.5 billion.
A stake sale would have helped the finance ministry inch closer to its languishing asset-sale programme for this fiscal year. The government has managed to raise less then a fifth of the roughly $10 billion it had projected in divestments for 2015-2016.
($1 = 67.6500 Indian rupees)
(Reporting by Krishna N. Das; editing by Susan Thomas)
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