Over the past 10 years, the companies that faced the most problems on the commercial and stock market front would be those owned by the government. Of the top 10 companies by market value on the stock market, six were public sector companies in 2009. After a decade, five of them fell off the top chart and the only one that survived is State Bank of India (SBI), according to a CII-Alvarez & Marsal report. ONGC, NTPC, MMTC, NMDC and BHEL were in the list in 2009, along with Reliance Industries, Bharti Airtel, Infosys and TCS. Now the list is full of private companies. The new entrants include HDFC Bank, Hindustan Unilever, HDFC, ITC, Kotak Mahindra and ICICI Bank. Of the private companies in the original list, only Bharti Airtel is now at rank 13.
The public sector companies which ruled the roost are well below their all-time high market value (annual average) even after years. On September 27, ONGC's market value stood at Rs 1,68,692 crore, 38 per cent lower than its all-time high of Rs 2,72,663 crore in 2013/14. Coal India's current market value of Rs 1,23,775 crore is 46 per cent lower than its peak of Rs 2,28,904 crore in FY15. NMDC, which touched a peak of Rs 1,16,621 crore in FY10, is now 76 per cent less at a mere Rs 28,000 crore.
ONGC had been under margin pressure until 2018, but improved its performance in the last financial year-standalone profit increased 34 per cent to Rs 26,715 crore. The company was allegedly under pressure to bail out debt-laden Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation (GSPC) as it bought the gas block for Rs 7,800 crore. Opposition parties alleged the company was used to meet the government's disinvestment target-it bought government's entire 51.11 per cent stake in HPCL for Rs 36,915 crore in FY18.
The country's largest iron ore producer NMDC has been slashing prices of high grade iron-ore and fines in the last few years to counter cheap imports. In April-December 2018, India's import soared 157 per cent over the year-ago period and affected NMDC. It's standalone profit increased 22 per cent to Rs 4,642 crore in the last financial year.
The situation is same with the largest public sector power producer NTPC, which has a market capitalisation of Rs 1,15,815 crore and is 32 per cent lower than the peak in FY10. The power generation company is not seeing much improvement in profit for the last four-five years. BHEL's share price is 86 per cent lower compared to its peak in November 2007 and the electrical equipment manufacturer is valued at Rs 17,360 crore in the stock market. The government is looking to close the metals trading company MMTC, which was ranked fourth in the pecking order of most valuable company in 2009. The company's share price, which was at Rs 1,175 in 2010, is now at Rs 17.