Vedanta Group puts in expression of interest to buy government stake in fuel retailer BPCL
The government had at the close of bidding stated that “multiple” EoIs had been received. It, however, did not reveal the identity of the bidders.
NEW DELHI: Vedanta Resources said it submitted an expression of interest (EoI) for the government‘s stake in Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd, making it one of three likely bidders, according to people with knowledge of the matter. The privatisation of India’s second largest oil refining and marketing company is key to the government’s disinvestment programme for the fiscal year.
“Vedanta’s EoI for BPCL is to evaluate potential synergies with our existing oil and gas business,” a company spokesperson said Wednesday. “The EoI is at a preliminary stage and exploratory in nature.”
Vedanta Resources chairman Anil Agarwal had said earlier this year that the group will evaluate bidding for BPCL since there were synergies that could be exploited. The identity of the other two bidders is not known. Most of the big oil companies including Reliance Industries Ltd, Russia’s Rosneft, Saudi Aramco and Abu Dhabi National Oil Corporation are said to have stayed away. The deadline for EoI submissions was Monday.
Vedanta closed at Rs 108.85 on the BSE Wednesday, up 1.4%. BPCL ended 2.85% down at Rs 383.20.
The government is seeking to sell its 53% stake in BPCL, hoping to raise about a fourth of the Rs 2.1 lakh crore disinvestment target for the current fiscal. The stake is worth Rs 44,000 crore at current market prices and the government also expects a control premium. Other companies lined up for strategic sale include Air India, Concor and Shipping Corporation of India.
Bids for BPCL closed on November 16, after being extended four times due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The stake sale process will now move to the next stage–bids will be evaluated by transaction advisor Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu India LLP.
BPCL’s stake sale will not include its 61.65% stake in Numaligarh Refinery in Assam, but will include its other refineries. The acquirer will have to make an open offer for another 26% stake from the public as per takeover rules.