Govt to relook BPCL divestment plan post expansion

The government will relook at plans for the divestment of Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) post the completion of expansion plans at the company, a source aware of developments told reporters on Wednesday. The source, who did not wish to be quoted said, that the privatisation of BPCL had been stalled as there was only one interested bidder in the fray. The government had planned to sell its entire 52.98 per cent stake in BPCL and invited Expressions of interest (EoI) in March 2020 and received bids from Anil Agarwal’s Vedanta group and US venture funds Apollo Global Management Inc and I Squared Capital Advisors. The two venture funds subsequently withdrew their interest in the acquisition.

“When there is a single bidder, they dictate the narrative,” the person said, noting that BPCL was in for a major expansion including the setting up of a petrochemicals complex in Bina in Madhya Pradesh.

The source also noted that the government would look into whether it would do partial or complete disinvestment of BPCL.

Volatility in global crude oil prices as well as periods in which state-owned oil marketing companies have had to retail fuel at a loss may have impacted investor interest in BPCL, the second-largest fuel retailer in the country. At current market prices, the government’s stake in BPCL is worth over Rs 38,000 crore.

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