Calcutta, Aug. 6: Price bids for the Bengal government’s stake in Haldia Petrochemicals Ltd (HPL) are likely to be called by the end of this month.
The representatives of five companies that are in the fray for the HPL stake met state industries minister and HPL chairman Partha Chatterjee here today along with senior bureaucrats and officials of Deloitte, advisers to the sale process.
“We have been told the price bid will be called in August,” the representative of a bidder, who participated in the meeting, said.
Three PSUs— Indian Oil Corporation, ONGC and GAIL (India) Ltd — and two private firms — Cairn India Ltd and Reliance Industries — have submitted expressions of interest and attended the customary pre-bid meeting.
Three state agencies hold a 48.29 per cent economic interest in HPL. The West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation owns 39.99 per cent of the equity capital, while two other state-owned firms hold another 8.3 per cent preference shares.The preference shares have equal voting rights as the equity shares.
After the meeting, Chatterjee said the companies sought a few clarifications on the sale process.
“They were asking about the government’s policy on taxation and incentives,” he added.
The meeting took place at a time due diligence carried out by the bidders is approaching the final lap. The plant site visits and data room inspections are likely to be over by the end of this week.
Sources said IOC and ONGC had sought the state government’s permission to bid jointly and were awaiting a response.
However, there is doubt over whether the actual transfer of stake from the state agencies to the successful bidder will take place.
HPL’s existing private promoter, The Chatterjee Group (TCG), is vigorously pursuing several cases both in Calcutta High Court and the Supreme Court. TCG chief Purnendu Chatterjee has staked claims to the government shares seeking arbitration on the matter in the International Chamber of Commerce, Paris, as well.