Monday, 8 June 2015

MSTC gets Odisha government's mandate to e-auction liquor licences

: "There are only two real ways to get ahead today, sell liquor or drink it." What American actor WC Fields probably said in the early nineties still holds true — at least for state-owned trading company MSTC Ltd. From auctioning scrap to selling liquor dealerships, the lesser known PSU has come a long way. In a first-of-its-kind move, MSTC has been approached by the Odisha government to e-auction the state's liquor licences.

So far, the state has been holding manual auctions for the dealerships. Thanks to the coal auctions, the miniratna company under the steel ministry is in demand, with none other than power and coal minister Piyush Goyal and Andhra Pradesh chief minister Chandrababu Naidu among its admirers.
"The coal minister, who is a chartered accountant himself, and tech savvy Chandrababu Naidu are very impressed with MSTC's work," said a company official. Other states including Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh have approached MSTC for transparent sale of minerals.
Formed in 1964 as a small trading company with a capital of mere Rs 6 lakh, MSTC today deals in a wide range of items, including land, iron ore, tendu leaves, sandal and even human hair, grossing revenue of Rs 5,330 crore for the year ended March 2014. The company conducts e-auctions of human hair for the Tirupati Balaji temple in Andhra Pradesh. The temple earns Rs 200 crore annually from the auction against about Rs 35 crore earlier.
MSTC earned Rs 10 lakh as a fee for each coal block it sold through e-auction. It also manages the auction of re-gasified liquefied natural gas for the power ministry under its bailout scheme for gas-based power plants. With a staff strength of 300-odd people across India, the PSU develops separate trading portals for each kind of auction.
MSTC has become indispensable for stateowned power utility NTPC, which recently sold fly ash on its portal at four times the normal price. NTPC is likely to engage MSTC to conduct global bidding to find mine developers for coal blocks that were recently allocated to the generation company.
After the success of the first coal block auctions in the country in February this year, MSTC attracted many states as clients eager to do business with it. "Earlier, when we visited various states to get business, we were kept waiting before the official meeting but now the states are themselves approaching us to conduct auctions of various minerals, among other things," the official at MSTC said.
The company plans to ride the success wave and end the current financial year with a healthier bottom line, the official said. MSTC also plans to spread its wings to other territories, including power trading. It plans to venture into trading of electricity on the lines of power exchanges such as India Energy Exchange and Power Exchange of India. The dream, however, is in a very nascent stage.
auctions in the country in February this year, MSTC attracted many states as clients eager to do business with it. "Earlier, when we visited various states to get business, we were kept waiting before the official meeting but now the states are themselves approaching us to conduct auctions of various minerals, among other things," the official at MSTC said.

The company plans to ride the success wave and end the current financial year with a healthier bottom line, the official said. MSTC also plans to spread its wings to other territories, including power trading. It plans to venture into trading of electricity on the lines of power exchanges such as India Energy Exchange and Power Exchange of India. The dream, however, is in a very nascent stage.

Sandip Ginodia , Director
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