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Supreme Court Delays Government Plan To Sell Hindustan Zinc Stake

The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the government to not proceed with any sale of its minority stake in Hindustan Zinc

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The Supreme Court on Tuesday (19 January) asked the government to not proceed with any sale of its minority stake in Hindustan Zinc, a senior government official said, further delaying majority owner Vedanta Resources Ltd's 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 holds 64.92 per cent of Hindustan Zinc's shares, while the government is the second-biggest owner with 29.54 per cent, 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.


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