Vedanta expresses interest in buying govt’s stake in Bharat Petroleum

However, Vedanta has termed the bid as only exploratory in nature.
Bharat Petroleum
Bharat Petroleum
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Anil Agarwal-led Vedanta has said that it has submitted an expression of interest (EoI) for the privatisation-bound Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) and termed the bid as "exploratory" in nature. Vedanta is among the three to four companies which have submitted bids for the state-run oil major.

"Vedanta's EoI for BPCL is to evaluate potential synergies with our existing oil and gas business. The EoI is at a preliminary stage and exploratory in nature," a company spokesperson said on Wednesday. The deadline for submission of EoIs ended on Monday.

The privatisation process will move to the second stage after scrutiny by the Transaction Adviser. The Secretary of the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) on Monday said that multiple expressions of interest have been received by the Transaction Adviser.

However, the response for the strategic stake sale has been mixed as several major domestic and global energy majors have given the bidding process a miss.

Union 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 bids have come in for the oil giant. There has so far been a buzz of mixed interest amongst the bidders.

Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries, and global giants including Saudi Aramco, BP and Total have not pitched in the strategic sale of BPCL.

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).

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.

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