Workers measure the weight of a bag of coal at a coal wholesale market in Mumbai, India. (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)

India Is Said to Plan to Sell a Stake in State-Run Coal Miner

(Bloomberg) -- Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration is planning to offload a stake in state-run Coal India Ltd. to speed asset sales after a disastrous attempt to find a buyer for the cash-strapped national airline, people with knowledge of the matter said.

The Department of Investment and Public Asset Management is finalizing the amount of stake to be offered in the financial year ending March 31, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is not public. If needed, the government could explore the option of staggering the sale offer in two tranches, they said.

Modi’s plan to raise about $12 billion in the current year from asset sales is at risk after a high-profile plan to sell Air India ground to a halt as no prospective suitors emerged. Coal India, the world’s biggest miner of the fuel, has reported strong shipment numbers in recent months due to demand from power plants.

A Coal India spokesman asked for questions to be sent by text message, and didn’t immediately respond to them. Finance Ministry’s D.S. Malik declined to comment.

The government holds more than 78 percent in Coal India. It had previously sold a 10 percent stake in January 2015, mopping up 225.5 billion rupees.

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