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Bids called for BPCL selloff

Government to sell 52.98% stake in the refiner
Bidding will be in two stages; qualified bidders in the first phase will make a financial bid in the second round

Our Special Correspondent   |   New Delhi   |   Published 07.03.20, 06:47 PM

The government on Saturday invited global bids for sale of its entire 52.98 per cent stake in Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) from prospective bidders with a minimum net worth of $10 billion.

Expressions of interest for the strategic sale of BPCL have been invited by May 2, according to the bid document by the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (Dipam). Investor queries will be entertained till April 4.

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“The government of India is proposing strategic divestment of its entire shareholding in BPCL comprising 114.91 crore equity shares, which constitutes 52.98 per cent of BPCL’s equity share capital along with transfer of management control to a strategic buyer (except BPCL’s equity shareholding of 61.65 per cent in Numaligarh Refinery),” it said.

The shareholding of BPCL in NRL will be transferred to a Central Public Sector Enterprise operating in the oil and gas sector under the ministry and is not a part of the proposed transaction.

Investor roadshows were organised in London, Singapore and the US in December to gauge their interest. Sources indicated that there had been a positive response to the privatisation of BPCL from global investors.

The government is selling BPCL’s refinery, fuel retail and the exploration business as a package. The bidding will be a two-stage affair; qualified bidders in the first expression of interest (EoI) phase will be asked to make a financial bid in the second round.

PSUs “are not eligible to participate” in the privatisation, the offer document said.

Russian oil major Rosneft had expressed its keenness to bid for BPCL in order to enter the retail market in the country. The national oil companies from West Asia such as Aramco of Saudi Arabia and Adnoc of the UAE may also bid.

Any private company having a networth of $10 billion is eligible for bidding and a consortium of no more than four firms will be allowed to bid.

According to the bidding criteria, the lead member of the consortium must hold a 40 per cent stake and others must have a minimum networth of $1 billion. Changes in consortium are allowed within 45 days but the lead member cannot be changed.

BPCL will give buyers ready access to 14 per cent of India’s oil refining capacity and about one-fourth of the fuel market share in the world’s fastest-growing energy market. 



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