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WB governmet mulls disinvestment in power utilities

 

AMBER MUKHERJEE | Kolkata, February 6, 2012 15:55
Tags : West Bengal Power Development Corporation Limited | WBPDCL | Durgapur Projects Limited | DPL | West Bengal State Electricity Distribution Company Limited | WBSEDCL | West Bengal State Electricity Transmission Company Limited | WBSETCL | state Power Minister Manish Gupta |
 

Finding itself between a need for fresh equity in the the four state run power utilities and a severe cash crunch, the West Bengal government has opened internal discussions on the possibility of divestment in them to infuse fresh equity.

The discussions have been initiated after the state power utilities – West Bengal Power Development Corporation Limited (WBPDCL), Durgapur Projects Limited (DPL),West Bengal State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (WBSEDCL) and West Bengal State Electricity Transmission Company Limited (WBSETCL) made it clear that they desperately want fresh equity to fund their future projects.
 
Although, state Power Minister Manish Gupta claimed that there was no problem with the equity contribution as far as the new projects were concerned, sources in the state power department express concern over the present financial situation of the power utility companies. The sources said that the power minister himself asked the officials to think about the possibility of going to the market or plan other measures to get fresh funds.

"He also indicated that the government might consider divesting 10 per cent of its equity in the utilities which could be offered to the new investors. The other option is issuing bonds in the market to strengthen the equity base. However, the discussions are in preliminary stage," sources confirmed.

As per the estimate of department officials, 10 per cent dilution in government stake in WBPDCL may attract Rs 350 crore worth of fresh equity and for WBSEDCL and WBSETCL, this amount will not cross Rs 200 crore each.

The WBPDCL is setting up two units (500MWx2) at Sagardighi. For the project the company needs an investment of around Rs 5,500 crore. Of this Rs 1600 crore is the equity component and the rest is debt.

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Issue Dated: Feb 5, 2017