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Tightening screws: India to sell over 2.91 lakh ‘enemy property’ shares in 84 companies

Tightening screws: India to sell over 2.91 lakh ‘enemy property’ shares in 84 companies

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Virendra Pandit 

 

New Delhi: In a major step seen as part of the government’s initiative to dispose of enemy property, India is set to sell over 2,91,000 ‘enemy property’ shares in 84 companies from February.

Assets left behind by those who took citizenship of Pakistan and China—mostly between 1947 and 1962—are known as ‘enemy property.’

The government on Thursday said it is planning to sell over 2.91 lakh ‘enemy property’ shares in 84 companies to individuals and corporates in tranches as it looks to dispose of assets of individuals who had migrated to Pakistan and China.

In the first tranche, the government is looking to sell about 1.88 lakh shares in 20 companies and has invited bids from 10 categories of buyers, including individuals, NRIs, Hindu Undivided Families (HUFs), Qualified Institutional Buyers (QIBs), trusts and companies by February 8, according to a public notice.

Buyers will have to place bids for shares they wish to buy and any price quoted below the reserve price set by the government will be rejected. The reserve price will be kept confidential from prospective bidders.

Altogether 2,91,536 shares of 84 companies are held by the Custodian of Enemy Properties for India (CEPI).

In a public notice, the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) said the “GoI proposes to sell 2,91,536 shares of 84 companies.”

It also listed the names of select 20 companies and 1,87,887 shares it proposes to divest.

DIPAM said interested buyers will be required to submit their bids, indicating the number of shares of companies they intend to bid for and the bid price for the respective shares in a specified form.

The government shall fix a reserve price for shares of each of these companies, which shall not be disclosed, it said, adding that price bids submitted at a value lower than the reserve price shall be rejected.

“Shares will be allotted to eligible bidders who have submitted a valid price bid, on a price priority basis subject to the approval of the government of India,” the DIPAM said.

The procedure and mechanism for disposal of enemy shares, under the custody of CEPI, was approved by the Union Cabinet on November 8, 2018.

The SBI Capital Markets was appointed as a merchant banker and selling broker for the sale of shares held by CEPI.

In December 2023, Union Minister of State for Home Ajay Kumar Mishra informed Parliament that shares worth more than Rs 2,709 crore were sold by the government as part of its initiative to dispose of enemy properties in the country.

The sale of such shares is done on the recommendation of a high-level committee which suggests the quantum and price level. The proceeds of the sale or disposal of the enemy property are deposited into the Consolidated Fund of India.

 

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