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India approves selling remaining Maruti stake

NEW DELHI -- India's cabinet has approved selling the government's remaining 10.27 percent stake in car maker Maruti Udyog Ltd., Finance Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram said today.

The stake will be sold to banks and financial institutions and bids are expected soon. Indian mutual funds would also be eligible to take part, he said.

No details were given on when the sale would take place. Maruti is 54.2 percent owned by Japan's Suzuki Motor Corp.

SBI Capital Markets and Kotak Mahindra Capital Company Ltd. have been appointed as advisors.

Maruti, India's largest carmaker with about half of the country's passenger vehicle market, competes with the Indian arm of Hyundai Motor Co. and Tata Motors Ltd.

Maruti was an equal joint venture between the government and Suzuki when the previous coalition government began diluting its stake as part of efforts to exit non-core sectors of the economy.

The ruling Congress-led coalition put all decisions to sell stakes in state-run firms on hold in July after a key ally threatened to pull out.

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