NEW DELHI: The coronavirus outbreak has claimed an unlikely victim in India — the roadshows for the Shipping Corporation of India’s (SCI) strategic stake sale. Sources in the department of investment and public asset management (DIPAM), which is responsible for asset sales, said now efforts are on to try and set up these meetings with investors in Hong Kong and Singapore through video-conference.

“We are discussing with the transaction adviser. We were supposed to meet investors in Hong Kong and Singapore for the roadshows, but now those meetings look difficult. People are sceptical about travelling. We are exploring whether the meetings can be held remotely,” said an official, who did not wish to be named.

But officials are confident of a strong response to the SCI sale and hope to wrap it up in the new financial year, which starts in April and hope to have the discussions with the investors “very soon”.

In a bold move in November, the Union Cabinet approved the strategic stake sale in oil major BPCL, logistics firm Concor and SCI. The government intends to sell the entire 63.8% stake in SCI and it could raise nearly Rs 1,800 crore from the stake sale in SCI.

The coronavirus outbreak has also hurt the shipping industry and commodity trade, and this could also prompt investors to temporarily ease their appetite for SCI. Demand has collapsed in the industry due to fear of the disease, which has so far claimed 1,000 lives in China. According to a Bloomberg report, the Baltic Dry Index — a barometer of demand for shipping vessels — has collapsed to its lowest level since 2016.

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Earlier this month, the company informed the stock exchanges that DIPAM had appointed RBSA Capital Advisors LLP as the transaction adviser, Luthra & Luthra partners as legal adviser and protocol Insurance Surveyors & Loss Assessors as the asset valuer as part of the process of strategic sale.

On October 2, 1961, SCI was incorporated by amalgamation of Eastern Shipping Corporation and Western Shipping Corporation as the country’s first public sector company in the sector, according to the company’s website.





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