The Kerala government has decided to register protest over the Centre’s denial of permission to participate in the competitive bidding for HLL Lifecare Ltd, the Central PSU headquartered in the State capital that has been put up for disinvestment.
The Cabinet meeting here on Wednesday decided that Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan would write to the Prime Minister seeking permission for the State government to participate in the bid.
Earlier, the government had issued an order authorising the Kerala State Industries Development Corporation (KSIDC) to take part in the bid and take over the assets of the PSU following the Centre’s decision to shed its stakes.
A pressnote issued by the CMO said the Centre, while inviting Expressions of Interest to sell HLL as a whole, had conveyed its decision not to allow the State government to participate in the bid. Earlier, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had written to the Centre, expressing interest in taking over the profit-making PSU as part of the LDF government's policy to strengthen and revive the public sector.
Founded in 1966 as Hindustan Latex Limited under the Union Ministry of Health, it was renamed HLL Lifecare Ltd. in 2009. It started as a manufacturer of rubber condoms and later diversified into other contraceptives and healthcare products and services including hospital products, pharmaceuticals, and diagnostics. HLL Lifecare has seven subsidiaries with 21 offices and seven manufacturing units.
HLL Lifecare Ltd is the second Central PSU the State government is seeking to acquire. In January, the State took over the Velloor unit of Hindustan Newsprint Ltd., a Central PSU that was facing insolvency, and initiated a revival of the unit as Kerala Paper Products Limited (KPPL).
Efforts are on to begin production of newsprint by April and achieve full-scale operation in four phases over a period of 46 months. While the production will begin with newsprint, the government has drawn up plans for the company to diversify into premium paper products including tissue paper in the subsequent phases.