BPCL privatization bids deadline ends Monday

As the deadline for submitting the Expressions of Interest (EoI) for privatization of BPCL close on Monday there is buzz of mixed interest amongst the bidders.

There is buzz that global majors BP, Total and Saudi Aramco are unlikely to put in a bid while there is talk that ADNOC and Reliance may be interested.

After four extensions, the government is hopeful that strategic sale of BPCL may go through without any further need to postpone the bidding deadlines.

The deadline for submitting the Expressions of Interest (EoI) for 52.98 per cent stake in the BPCL is ending on November 16. Prior to this, the bid start date was September 30, but it got postponed due to bidders’ request in wake of prevailing situation arising out of Covid-19 pandemic.

The Indian government proposes to disinvest its entire shareholding in BPCL comprising 1,14,91,83,592 equity shares held through the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, which constitutes 52.98 per cent of BPCL’s equity share capital, along with the transfer of management control to the strategic buyer (except BPCL’s equity shareholding of 61.65 per cent in (NRL) and management control thereon).

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 accordingly, is not a part of the proposed transaction.

The government’s stake in BPCL is worth around Rs 47,000 crore at BPCL’s current share price.

According to an earlier research note by Emkay Global, according to DIPAM’s response to PIM queries, interested parties may include global players with limited knowledge on Indian corporate/PSU/accounting /takeover rules as well as parties seeking higher level of clarifications.

The report said RIL can be a serious contender being mostly net debt free now and possibly include BP also as a partner. Other players are Aramco, ADNOC, Rosneft and ExxonMobil, as per the reports. With RIL deal not progressing, Aramco may now look at BPCL aggressively.

“The progress on BPCL’s sale is positive for OMCs in terms of deepening deregulation and profitability outlook. Given the tight fiscal situation, disinvestment would be of utmost importance to the government this year”, the report said.