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Wednesday, Nov 27, 2002

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Divestment hopes revive HPCL

Our Bureau

MUMBAI, Nov. 26

THE HPCL stock has been attracting sharp activity in the last two days. Market sources attributed the sudden increase in the activity to a possible Cabinet decision on the divestment of Government stake in Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd.

HPCL today closed at Rs 213.45, up Rs 8.40 on the Bombay Stock Exchange with 15.41 lakh shares being traded. On the NSE, the stock closed at Rs 213.75, up Rs 9.15 with 38.21 lakh shares being traded.

However, the ratio of deliverable quantity to the traded shares was low in the counter; only 14.19 per cent traded shares were up for delivery on the BSE and 21.09 per cent on the NSE.

According to market sources, the stock moved up on rumours that the Government is likely to ratify the sale of 26 per cent of the 51.01 per cent stake it holds in HPCL.

Bharat Petroleum Corporation, which also saw high volumes, was rumoured to see its initial public offering come through. This would facilitate the sale of Government equity of up to 36 per cent through public offering and three-four per cent to employees.

The decisions, which were to be taken in September, got postponed because of alleged differences of opinion in the Union Cabinet. The Cabinet Committee on Disinvestment was reportedly scheduled to meet in the first week of December and HPCL disinvestment was expected to be discussed, said market sources.

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