BSNL privatisation edges closer

8 Aug 2008

India plans to push ahead with listing state-owned telco Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), in what the Financial Times says would be the country’s first large privatisation since the government came to power four years ago. SD Saxena, BSNL’s finance director, said a stake of between 5% and 10% will be sold, in a deal that it claims would value the company at about USD100 billion.

The sale of BSNL, India’s fourth-largest mobile operator, has been made possible by a political dispute between the ruling coalition, led by the Congress party, and its former Communist party allies in parliament. Last month, the Communists, who are opposed to privatisations, split with Congress, opening the way for the government to begin a long-delayed programme of stake sales in state-run companies.

India, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL)