NALCO asked to buy back shares

NEW DELHI: The finance ministry wants state-run NALCO to buy back 25 per cent of its shares from the government worth INR 32.5 billion ($481 million), a senior government official said, as the government’s plans to raise about $10 billion from asset sales fall way short of targets. “The market scenario for divestments is not good,” Mines Secretary Balvinder Kumar said on Monday. “NALCO had already agreed to buy back 10 per cent but their board will now decide whether to purchase more.” Last week the finance ministry wrote to the mines ministry, which controls the government’s 89 per cent holding in NALCO, seeking help to raise more much-needed funds. The government has managed to raise less than a fifth of the roughly $10 billion it

had projected in divestments for 2015-16. A finance ministry spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment.