The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Reliance keen on HPCL bid

New Delhi, Dec. 13: Reliance Group chairman Mukesh Ambani today said the company is ‘interested’ in bidding for state-run Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL).

“We are waiting for the government policy (on HPCL disinvestment),” Ambani told reporters at a special session organised here today by Ficci as part of its platinum jubilee celebrations. He hoped the government policy on HPCL selloff would be announced by next week.

Last week, the government announced in parliament that it would divest a part of its stake in two oil PSUs—HPCL and Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL).

The government, which has a 51 per cent stake in HPCL, has decided to offer management control to a strategic investor. In the case of BPCL, where it holds over 66 per cent, it has decided to divest through an initial public offering (IPO).

Reliance will be in the fray for HPCL along with Royal Dutch Shell, UK-based Cairn energy, Kuwait Petroleum Corporation, BP-Amoco and Petronas of Malaysia. Public sector oil majors like ONGC, Gail and Iffco-Kribhco are also interested in bidding for the state-owned oil company but it is not known yet whether the government will allow other PSUs to join the race.

The public sector companies intending to join the bidding race have been asked to submit their applications through their administrative ministries which will vet the proposals before placing them before the Cabinet Committee On Disinvestment (CCD). However, the government is yet to work out guidelines for divestment in ‘natural asset companies,’ which include oil, iron and steel and other core sector companies.

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