New Delhi : The government Monday informed parliament that it is considering a proposal to offload 10 percent equity in the strategically important Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), the country's only producer of military planes.
Defence Minister A.K. Antony said a final decision on the defence public sector's disinvestment plan will be taken after receiving the recommendations of an expert group constituted by the government for suggesting measures for strengthening and restructuring the HAL.
If the government goes through the off-loading of equity in HAL, it will become the third defence public sector undertaking after Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) and BEML to be headed for disinvestment.
Antony also told Lok Sabha in a written reply to members' queries that the net profit of HAL after tax for 2009-10 was Rs.1,969.41 crore, 2010-11 was Rs.2,114.26 crore, and 2011-12 was Rs.2,370 crore (provisional). In September last year, Antony had given "in principle approval" to the plan to sell 10 percent stake in HAL over a five year period to mop up resources for the public sector undertaking's modernisation.
The disinvestment is expected to reduce the government burden for the 10-year Rs.20,000 crore modernisation plans for the Bangalore-headquartered HAL, which is slated to take up new programmes with foreign collaboration in the future worth several crores. The government had gone for 34 percent disinvestment in BEML and 25 percent in BEL.