New Delhi: The Centre is likely to extend the bid submission deadline for Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) for a fifth time, various sources in the know of the matter have told PSU Watch on the condition of anonymity. The speculation comes a day before the deadline for submission of bids for BPCL sale expires on September 30. The Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) has already extended the bid submission deadline four times since the preliminary information memorandum was released.
Sources have said that investors have sought more time in the wake of the COVID-19 situation and the turmoil in global crude oil prices.
Government sources said that it looks unlikely that the disinvestment of BPCL will be completed within the current financial year. "Over the past few months, the share price of BPCL has also tanked considerably. This means that if the government proceeds with the sale in a rush, it may not be able to realise the true value of a Maharatna company like BPCL," one of the sources in the know of the matter said.
After touching a high of Rs 464.20 on July 21, BPCL shares have tanked to Rs 392 apiece on September 29. Media reports have also claimed that global oil majors like Saudi Aramco and Rosneft have decided to not throw their hats in the ring for BPCL in view of the crash in global crude oil prices and a trend indicating a shift away from conventional fuel.
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs had approved the sale of BPCL in November last year. Initially, the last date for EoI submission was May 2, but it was extended to June 13 and then to July 31. The number of shares that the government is looking to sell off stands at 1,14,91,83,592, DIPAM had recently said in a clarification to queries raised by bidders. The disinvestment of Numaligarh Refinery Ltd will be completed before the closing of BPCL privatisation process, DIPAM had said.
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