New Delhi: State-run IOC (Indian Oil Corporation) will take a call on whether to throw its hat in the ring for BPCL or not after the government releases the rulebook for strategic sale, CMD (Chairman and Managing Director) Sanjeev Singh said on Thursday. The news comes as there is much speculation about who is going to pick up the government’s stake in BPCL. While employees have been urging the government to sell off its stake to another PSU, preferably IOC, the word in the official corridors has it that the government is keen on bringing in a private player into the picture. The government’s plan to divest its stake in BPCL has elicited interest from a bunch of entities within India and outside too.
BPCL stake sale: IOC waiting for EoI
“The expression of interest (EoI) (for BPCL stake sale) hasn't been issued yet. We don't know the conditions. We have no information whether PSUs are allowed to bid or not,” Singh told the press. “I cannot comment if IOC will bid or not unless we see the conditions set out in the EoI.” Singh also said the same for Numaligarh Refinery. He said that a decision on the issue can only be taken after there is clarity on the bidding process and whether the government will allow PSUs to participate or not.
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs had given an approval to the sale of Centre’s 53.29 percent stake in BPCL in November 2019. However, the potential investors are still waiting for the government to release the document inviting Expression of Interest (EoI). Soon after the decision was announced in November 2019, Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan had hinted that PSUs will not be allowed to take part in the bidding process for BPCL. “Since 2014, we have a clear vision that the government has no business to be in business,” Pradhan had said.
“We have examples of 2-3 sectors such as telecom and aviation where ushering in private participation has led to customers benefiting from price cuts, efficiency, and better service,” the minister had added. The sale of BPCL will give the buyer access to 14 percent of India’s refining capacity and one-fourth of India’s fuel retail outlets.
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