State-run oil and gas major ONGC has filed its Red Herring Prospectus with the Registrar of Companies for its follow-on public offer or FPO, comprising 5 per cent of the paid-up equity shares, through an offer for sale by the Indian government.

The government plans to offer 427.7 million shares to the public within a price band and at an offer price to be decided later. ONGC scrip is trading around Rs 262 a share, which can fetch the government as much as Rs 11,207 crore or a little less than $2.5 billion.

This will make it the single largest FPO ever in India and the third biggest equity issue behind the initial public offer of Coal India that came up last October and Reliance Power IPO in early 2008.

Since the FPO comprises only an offer for sale, all the money raised will go to the Indian government who can use it for containing the fiscal deficit. The ONGC issue was planned to hit the markets in March this year but it got delayed.

The current offer comprises a net offer of 419.2 million shares to the public, with 8.5 million shares reserved for subscription by eligible employees.

The book running lead managers to the issue are JM Financial Consultants, Citigroup Global Markets India, DSP Merrill Lynch, HSBC Securities and Capital Markets, Morgan Stanley India and Nomura Financial.

Incidentally, ONGC is the third most-valued company in India behind Reliance Industries and Coal India.

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