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Several EoIs received for BPCL sale, giants RIL, Aramco, BP not in race

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Government invites bids for BPCL, Concor strategic saleNew Delhi, Nov 16 (IANS) 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 (EoIs). However, sources said that major energy giants including Reliance Industries, Saudi Aramco and UK’s BP have not placed bids 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.

Sources said that 3-4 four bids have come in for the oil giant.

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

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Other global giants such as Total and Russia’s Rosneft also have not pitched in the strategic sale of BPCL.

RIL and Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) were anticipated to submit their bids. While RIL has not put in a bid as per sources, it could not be ascertained whether ADNOC has gone ahead with a bid.

ADNOC already has footprint in India as it is the only overseas company that has crude stored in Indian caverns.

The lack of interest among major players comes on the back of the poor oil demand globally amid the pandemic and low oil prices.

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.

It proposes to disinvest its entire shareholding in the 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).

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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 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.

Source: IANS

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