India may invite financial bids for the sale of Shipping Corporation of India (SCI) by September, PTI reported.

An official told the news agency that financial bids will be sought after the divestment of non-core assets.

The official was quoted by PTI as saying: “The process of demerger is time consuming. We would be ready to invite financial bids in three to four months.”

This comes after the SCI board approved a revised demerger scheme that involves hiving off SCI’s non-core assets to Shipping Corporation of India Land and Assets Limited (SCILAL).

The assets include Shipping House, Mumbai, and MTI (Maritime Training Institute), Powai.

The non-core assets were valued at Rs23.92bn ($309m) on 31 March, according to the SCI balance sheet.

Last month, India’s Ministry of Ports Shipping and Waterways asked for the demerger process of non-core assets to be accelerated.

SCI is one of the largest shipping companies in India, holding significant stakes in various segments of the shipping trade.

According to its website, SCI operates around one-third of India’s tonnage.

The corporation’s fleet includes bulk carriers, crude oil tankers, container vessels, passenger-cum-cargo vessels, product tankers, and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and offshore supply vessels.

The Government of India’s Cabinet gave its in-principle approval for the strategic divestment of SCI. The process is expected to be completed this fiscal.

In March, the government approved financial assistance for the building of 47 vessels.