Centre asks ONGC to list overseas investment arm OVL on bourses to help achieve govt disinvestment target

New Delhi: The government has asked ONGC to list its overseas investment arm, ONGC Videsh Ltd on stock exchanges and transfer proceeds to it in the form of a special dividend, helping meet its disinvestment target, according to a letter written by DIPAM.

According to a letter the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) wrote to ONGC management last week, the listing of ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL) would help unlock value by improving its corporate governance and efficiency.

ONGC had helped the government meet its disinvestment target last fiscal when it bought a 51.11 percent stake in state-owned Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) for Rs 36,915 crore.

After failing to find a buyer for Air India, DIPAM is again looking at ONGC to meet the Rs 80,000 crore revenue mobilisation target set out for it in the Budget for 2018-19 from the sale of government stake in PSUs.

As on 5 July, 2018, the government has realised Rs 9,219.91 crore as disinvestment proceeds against the budgetary target of Rs 80,000 crore, according to DIPAM.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

OVL, which is 100 percent owned by ONGC, has so far invested Rs 1.5 lakh crore ($28.36 billion) in 41 projects it has across 20 countries.

In the letter, DIPAM said PSUs with a positive network and no accumulated losses should be listed to unlock value.

It, however, did not state how much stake in OVL should be sold for its listing.

Market regulator Sebi calls for a minimum 25 percent public float for a listed company.

Officials said, proceeds of the listing of OVL would accrue to its parent ONGC but the government would seek a special dividend to reap that.

The government owns 67.45 percent in ONGC. If ONGC were to declare entire proceeds of OVL listing as a special dividend, the government would get 67.45 percent of it.

The government had in 2015 as well asked ONGC to list OVL. But the state-owned firm had at that time told the government that it was not the right time to list as oil prices were subdued and the company would not get the right value.

Oil prices have since rebounded and the government is looking to cash in on that.

Under its portfolio, OVL has reserves of 711 million tonnes of oil and oil equivalent natural gas.

In 2017-18, it produced 9.35 million tonnes of crude oil, up from 8.43 million tonnes in the previous year. Together with natural gas, the output was 14.16 million tonnes of oil equivalent, up from 12.80 million tonnes in the previous year.

It reported a net profit of Rs 981 crore on a turnover of Rs 10,418 crore in 2017-18 fiscal. This compared with a net profit of Rs 701 crore on a turnover of Rs 10,080 crore in the previous fiscal.

It had reported a net loss of Rs 3,633 crore in 2015-16 due to a sharp drop in oil prices.


Updated Date: Aug 21, 2018 14:33 PM

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