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BSNL-MTNL merger on back-burner
June, 03rd 2009

Telecom Minister A Raja on Monday virtually ruled out the BSNL-MTNL merger saying it is difficult due to lack of identical factor between them.

"Identical factors are not there legally for BSNL-MTNL merger," Raja said.

The Minister, who assumed charge today, however, said the Department was keen on listing of BSNL and advised PSU management to start talks with the Employees Union for taking the company public. The union has been opposing the listing.

Late Communication Minister Pramod Mahajan had proposed the merger and was revived by Raja's predecessor Dayanidhi Maran for synergy purpose. Government holds 56.25 per cent in MTNL and it is listed in NYSE and in India. BSNL is 100 per cent owned by government.

MTNL provides telecom services in Delhi and Mumbai, while BSNL serves the rest of India.

On plans to list BSNL in the bourses, Raja said the management has been advised to initiate talks with the employees union.

"We want to list BSNL... We want to create a consensus for it. We have asked the BSNL management to talk to the union", said the Minister. Estimates suggest that BSNL is worth 100 billion dollars and dilution of 10 per cent stake would help the company raise 10 billion dollars (about Rs 48,000 crore).

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