Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Business

Govt sure BPCL strategic sale to sail through without further extensions

IANS | July 25, 2020 05:19 PM

NEW DELHI:Government is confident that the strategic sale of Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) may go through without any further need to extend the bidding deadlines.
The deadline for submitting the Expressions of Interest (EoI) for 52.98 per cent stake in the BPCL will end on July 31.

BPCL disinvestment has received interest from several large global oil and gas companies and a few Indian entities as well. In fact, the process so far has generated close to 100 enquiries in a clear signal that investors remain interested in the maharatna oil PSUs despite the disruptions caused by Covid-19 pandemic, official source privy to the development said.

According to them, Saudi Aramco, Abu Dhabi National Oil Co (Adnoc), Rosneft of Russia and Exxon Mobil intend to participate in the bidding process for the PSU. Indian oil majors are not behind their global counterparts and are also actively pursuing the prospects of bidding for BPCL. Oil-to-telecom major Reliance Industries is understood to have shown interest for the bid.

The deadline for submitting EoIs has been postponed twice and the current deadline ends on July 31. We are confident that EoI will sail through within time with several interested bidders coming into the fray, the sources quoted above said.

While the queries about the sale is a reflection of interest that BPCL disinvestment has interest, it does always amount to investment. But the queries relating to timing to complete the bids, net worth requirement, what kind of controls investors may have to face, will they have to operate in regulated regime or how the money would have to be brought for the purchase had given confidence that investors remain serious about BPCL.

The disinvestment in BPCL involves the government selling its entire 52.98 per cent stake in the company to a strategic investor with transfer of management control. The government has barred PSUs from bidding for BPCL and expects private sector Indian players and global MNCs to bid for its stake.

The Centre has allowed prospective bidders with a minimum net worth of $10 billion to present their bids.

Another condition pertains to a maximum of four members are permitted in a consortium, and the lead member must hold 40 per cent in proportion. Other members of the consortium must have a minimum $1 billion net worth.

The EOI allows changes in the consortium within 45 days, though the lead member cannot be changed.

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 Numaligarh Refinery Ltd (NRL) and management control thereon).

The shareholding of BPCL in 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 50, 000 crore at BPCL's current share price.

Shares of BPCL have surged in recent days on the possibilities of global companies bidding for the majority stake.

On Friday, its shares on the BSE closed at Rs 448.30, lower by Rs 8.90 or 1.95 per cent from its previous close.

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