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Shell fuels Hind Petro rally

Mumbai, Feb. 11: The selloff-bound Hindustan Petroleum Corporation (HPCL) today got a fillip when Anglo-Dutch oil major Shell’s local subsidiary expressed its interest in the public sector oil refiner-cum-retailer.

The HPCL scrip on the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) was abuzz immediately after Vikram Singh Mehta, managing director of Shell India, made the statement during a television interview.

The HPCL stock gained 3.5 per cent to close at Rs 314.95 from its previous day’s close of Rs 304.45, gaining Rs 10.50 in the process.

The share opened at Rs 308.40 and touched an intra-day high of Rs 316.30 before closing at Rs 314.95.

“More the bidders, the merrier,” said a merchant banker who later explained that the market was a little downcast after PSU oil major ONGC was barred from bidding for HPCL.

Unlike IBP’s divestment where Indian Oil’s adventurous bid had put the other bidders comprehensively in the shade, the markets expected the bidding process to be low key in HPCL’s case. Shell’s interest in HPCL will restore interest in the counter, he added.

In the interview, Mehta said he was encouraged by the fact that the government has decided on a strategic sale for HPCL.

He also indicated that Shell could put in the preliminary bids for the PSU.

Earlier Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani had made a similar statement to newspersons, expressing interest in the HPCL selloff.

The industry expects bidders like Kuwait Petroleum, Petronas and Exxon Mobil to join the fray along with Reliance Industries and Shell.

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