Government to extend BPCL EoI date for the third time

The government is set to extend the deadline – for the third time – for inviting expression of interest for Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL), by a month, giving more time to potential bidders.

The existing deadline will end on July 31, after being extended from June 13 earlier.

An official said that the extension would be given since, “potential bidders had sought for more time to evaluate their participation due to Covid 19 pandemic.”

Tuhin Kanta Pandey, secretary of department of investment and public asset management (DIPAM) had recently said that the government’s divestment drive had hit a roadblock pandemic had shut down international travel and site visits, impacting the time taken by investors to decide on strategic decisions. “Investors prefer to engage deeply with the government which involves travel, d site visits, international travel, which has stopped due to the pandemic.”

The government wants to sell 53.29% stake to potential investors, along with transfer of management control, to a strategic buyer but the sale will not include BPCL’s equity shareholding of 61.65% in Numaligarh Refinery.

For 2020-21, the government has set a disinvestment target of Rs 2.10 lakh crore. Of this, Rs 1.20 lakh crore will come from disinvestment of public sector undertakings and another Rs 90,000 crore from stake sale in financial institutions.

For BPCL, the government has set $10 billion minimum net worth as one of the eligibility criteria for bidders, while explicitly excluding public sector units having 51% government ownership from the bidding process.

The consortium of investors that will bid for taking a stake in the oil refiner and marketer cannot have more than four members, where each must have a minimum net worth of $1 billion and the lead member should have 40% of the net worth proportionately, the conditions have mandated.

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The government will specify the conditions – including employee protection, asset stripping, business continuity, lock-in period of the shares bought and shareholding of consortium members – besides responsibilities and liabilities of the selected buyer, and of the consortium members, in the request for proposal or the share purchase agreement.

The confirmed buyer is required to make an open offer to public shareholders to acquire a minimum 26% share of BPCL. Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu India LLP has been appointed as the transaction advisor and manager of the strategic disinvestment process.



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