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Saturday, December 03 2022

BPCL privatisation makes progress, multiple EoIs received

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New Delhi: The much-anticipated privatisation process of the Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) completed its first phase on Monday with several suitors submitting Expressions of Interest (EoI) for the state-run oil major.

The transaction will move to the second stage after scrutiny by the transaction adviser, said a tweet from the Twitter handle of the Secretary of the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM).

“For strategic disinvestment of BPCL, multiple expressions of interest have been received by the Transaction Advisor. The Transaction will move to the second stage after scrutiny by TA,” it said.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman also said that the BPCL disinvestment process is making progress.

“Strategic disinvestment of BPCL progresses: Now moves to the second stage after multiple expressions of interest have been received,” she said in a tweet.

The deadline for submitting the Expressions of Interest (EoI) for privatisation of BPCL closed on Monday and there has so far been a buzz of mixed interest amongst the bidders.

There is buzz in the market that global majors BP, Total and Saudi Aramco are unlikely to put in a bid while there is talk that ADNOC and Reliance Industries may be interested.

The EoIs came on Monday after four extensions of the deadline for submission of bids.

The Centre has put its entre 52.98 per cent stake in the BPCL on the block.

The Indian government proposes to disinvest its entire shareholding in BPCL comprising 1,14,91,83,592 equity shares held through the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, which constitutes 52.98 per cent of BPCL’s equity share capital, along with the transfer of management control to the strategic buyer (except BPCL’s equity shareholding of 61.65 per cent in (NRL) and management control thereon).

The shareholding of the BPCL in the NRL will be transferred to a Central Public Sector Enterprise operating in the oil and gas sector under the Ministry and accordingly, is not a part of the proposed transaction.

The government’s stake in BPCL is worth around Rs 47,000 crore at BPCL’s current share price.

According to an earlier research note by Emkay Global, according to DIPAM’s response to PIM queries, interested parties may include global players with limited knowledge on Indian corporate/PSU/accounting/takeover rules as well as parties seeking higher level of clarifications.

The report had said RIL can be a serious contender being mostly net debt free now and possibly include BP also as a partner. Other players are Aramco, ADNOC, Rosneft and ExxonMobil, as per the reports. With the RIL deal not progressing, Aramco may now look at BPCL aggressively.

“The progress on BPCL’s sale is positive for OMCs in terms of deepening deregulation and profitability outlook. Given the tight fiscal situation, disinvestment would be of utmost importance to the government this year,” the report said.

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