CIL workers that struck out on IPO may get chance to buy stake

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New Delhi, Feb 22 (PTI) Regretting that CIL''s employeescould not benefit from the company''s mega-IPO due to tradeunions'' opposition to disinvestment, the Coal Ministry todaysaid it can still reconsider the offer to allot up to 2 percent shares to them on a preferential basis.

The trade unions had boycotted the divestment of thegovernment''s stake in Coal India Limited and had askedemployees to abstain from participating in the issue.

The government had reserved 10 per cent of the totalshares on sale for CIL employees and had offered a discount of5 per cent to workers on the issue price of Rs 245 per share.

"If workers are ready, we can make allotment of up to 2per cent shares to them on a preferential basis at the sameprice," Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal told PTI in aninterview.

The majority of the 3.98 lakh strong workforce did notbid for shares of the world''s largest coal producer when thegovernment offloaded a 10 per cent stake in CIL in October,2010, garnering a whopping Rs 15,200 crore.

Union leaders had called a strike on the first day of theshare offer in October, 2010, and asked workers to abstainfrom bidding for it.

Out of the 63.16 crore shares on offer, 10 per cent ofwhich were reserved for its employees, only 10 per cent of thereserved shares were bid for by employees as the trade unionswere protesting the share sale and had advised workers to stayaway from the public offer.

The small investors got good listing gains as they wereallotted shares at Rs 232.75 a share after a discount of 5 percent to the final issue price of Rs 245. However, the majorityof the employees failed to cash in on the opportunity due toopposition from unions.

"Had the employees bought shares then, they could havebeen reaping rich dividends now," Jaiswal said regretting theopposition by the unions. "But if they agree, we can stillconsider it," he added.

A handful of employees who have the shares today haveseen the price appreciate by about Rs 70 apiece from what theybought them for, as CIL''s shares are hovering at around Rs 300per share at present.

CIL''s IPO was a grand success and Jaiswal earlier hadtermed Coal India as "Gold India."

The blockbuster issue was kicked-off after the Durga Pujafestival and the world''s biggest coal producer made its debuton the stock exchanges on November 4 -- a day before Diwali --joining the club of the top-five most valued companies bymarket cap.

The IPO got an overwhelming response from all investorsand was oversubscribed 15.17 times, translating into totaldemand of Rs 2.3 lakh crore for the 63.16 crore shares onoffer. .

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