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SAIL Up To $778 Mn Share Sale Delayed Further

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State-run Steel Authority of India's up to $778 million share sale has been delayed further, with its chairman on Wednesday saying it was difficult to launch the offering in mid-June due to unfavourable market conditions.

C.S. Verma had told Reuters last month the share sale was likely to be launched on June 14 and close three days later.

"There was no time limit for the offer but mid-June was one of the options we were considering," Verma told Reuters on Wednesday. "It will be difficult to meet that timeline."

The long delayed issue is part of the government's plan to shed stakes in nearly 60 state-run firms over the next few years, to raise funds for its social welfare programmes and to cut its fiscal deficit.

The SAIL share sale was earlier expected to be launched in the last fiscal year that ended in March.

"Once market conditions are more stable we will launch the offer," Verma said.

The pipeline of government share sales also includes deals planned by Indian Oil Corp, Oil and Natural Gas Corp and Hindustan Copper -- all of which have been delayed from the last fiscal year.

The BSE Sensex is down more than 9 percent this year, and concerns about slowing domestic economic growth, high inflation and rising interest rates have doused the appetite for equities.

(Reuters)


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