New Delhi: The government has extended the deadline for submission of bids for the strategic disinvestment of BPCL (Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd) for a third time in the wake of requests from interested bidders and the "prevailing situation arising out of COVID-19." According to sources who spoke to PSU Watch on the condition of anonymity, more deadline extensions are in the offing as bidders have sought more time and the number of queries received by DIPAM is huge.
According to a notification posted on the DIPAM website, the last date for bid submission for BPCL has now been extended to July 31. "In view of the further requests received from the Interested Bidders (IB) and the prevailing situation arising out of COVID-19, last date for submission of written queries on PIM is again extended up to 23rd June, 2020, and last date and time ("EoI Due Date") for submission of EoIs is extended upto 31st July, 2020."
While asserting that there could be more deadline extensions in the government's strategic disinvestment plan, sources aware of the matter have told PSU Watch that it is quite possible that yields from some of the big-ticket strategic disinvestment plans could be pushed to the next year. "Because of a general sense of uncertainty in the market and the crash in global crude oil prices, it is quite possible that some of the big disinvestments for this year may get pushed to the next year. Bidders have also been seeking more time. We are getting more and more queries everyday."
For fiscal year 2020-21, the government's big strategic disinvestment plan includes Air India, BPCL, CONCOR and Shipping Corporation of India, and LIC IPO. PSU Watch had earlier reported that the government is resorting to a wait and watch approach before announcing the LIC IPO which is expected to fetch around Rs 90,000 crore. Multiple deadline extensions have already been announced for Air India and BPCL bid submission deadlines so far.