Monday was the last day for submitting Expressions of Interest for the 52.98% stake on sale.

A Bharat Petroleum petrol bunk Image: Sushanta Mohan Singh/CC BY 3.0
Money Divestment Tuesday, November 17, 2020 - 19:56

Shares of the state-run petroleum major Bharat Petroleum Corp. Ltd. (BPCL) fell nearly 5% a day after the deadline for submitting bids for the strategic sale of the company ended. It closed 4.42% down on the Bombay Stock Exchange. 

Investor sentiments dampened as major energy giants including Reliance Industries, Saudi Aramco, BP gave the bidding process a miss and did not submit Expressions of Interest for the 52.98% of the stake on sale.

"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,"  a tweet from the Twitter handle of the Secretary of the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) had said.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had 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 EoIs for privatisation of BPCL closed on Monday and there has so far been a buzz of mixed interest amongst the bidders.

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 a 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% 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% 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% 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 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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