NEW DELHI: Anil Agarwal’s Vedanta Group and two overseas funds are said to be among suitors for state-owned Bharat Petroleum Corporation (BPCL), which the government is seeking to privatise.
Government sources told TOI that Vedanta is among the “multiple suitors” for the oil marketing company. The names of the two funds were not immediately known. The government and transaction advisor Deloitte have so far not disclosed names of the entities that have evinced interest. The deadline for submitting an expression of interest ended Monday evening. Several top oil companies have stayed out of the race.
Vedanta, which had focused on the metals space, expanded into energy through the acquisition of Cairn, a major contributor to India’s domestic crude production. Domestic production, however, accounts for just around a fifth of the entire oil consumption in the country.
If its plans materialise, BPCL will give a much-needed boost to the group’s energy thrust through its four refineries in Mumbai, Kochi and Bina, although the Numaligarh facility in Assam will be hived off. Currently, BPCL accounts for 15% of the India’s refining capacity of close to 250 million tonnes. The public sector company also owns 15,177 petrol pumps, 6,011 LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) distributorships and 51 LPG bottling plants. The company distributes 21% of petroleum products consumed in the country and owns a fifth of the 250 aviation fuel stations in the country.
In contrast, Cairn’s operations in India are limited.
The government is keen to close the BPCL transaction by March as it is hoping to mop up close to Rs 45,350 crore from the sale, which will be the major portion of its disinvestment target of Rs 1.2 lakh crore for the current financial year. So far, it managed to garner around Rs 6,100 crore. BPCL will also signal the government’s intent to move ahead with strategic sale, something that it has failed to do over the last six years, despite the Narendra Modi government’s stated policy. On Tuesday, BPCL shares closed 4.4% lower at Rs 394 on the BSE.
Source From : Times Of India