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Coal India Share Sale: Sebi Puts Surveillance on High Alert, Says Report

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New Delhi: The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) and stock exchanges have put their surveillance systems on high alert in view of the government's estimated Rs 24,000 crore mega share sale in Coal India on Friday.

"The surveillance activities have been stepped up significantly and all systems are on high alert to thwart any manipulative activities in the market in view of the proposed Offer for Sale of state-run Coal India Ltd," a source said.

Besides being the country's biggest public offer, which would be undertaken in a single day, the upcoming Coal India issue also assumes significance in the wake of shares worth up to Rs 4,800 crore being reserved for retail investors. These investors will also get a 5 per cent discount.

There are also concerns about manipulative activities following trends witnessed with regard to some other disinvestment share sales.

Sebi as well as the stock exchanges have stepped up their surveillance.

It has also come to the notice of the regulator and the government that media speculations about disinvestment have led to market speculations that have adversely affected the share prices and eventually the divestment programme.

Pushing forward its ambitious disinvestment programme, the government plans to sell up to 10 per cent of its stake in Coal India. The sale, at current market price, would fetch around Rs 24,000 crore for the exchequer.

In a regulatory filing on Wednesday, Coal India said the government would offload 5 per cent in the company through offer for sale (OFS) route on Friday, January 30, and could also sell additional 5 per cent in the company.

Even though the government's target is to raise Rs 43,425 crore through sale of its stakes in public sector enterprises in the current fiscal year, it has managed to sell shares only in SAIL. In December, the government garnered over Rs 1,700 crore through SAIL share sale.

Shares of Coal India, on Wednesday, ended 0.27 per cent higher at Rs 384.05 apiece on the BSE. The floor price for the upcoming offer would be decided on Thursday.

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