The government will decide on re-initiating the process of BPCL strategic sale based on a review of the situation in due course, Parliament was informed on Monday.
In a written reply to the Lok Sabha, Minister of State for Finance Bhagwat Kishanrao Karad said the COVID pandemic, energy transition issues and geo-political conditions affected several industries globally, particularly the oil and gas industry.
“Government of India has decided to call off the present EoI process for strategic disinvestment of BPCL. The decision on re-initiation of the strategic disinvestment process of BPCL depends on the review of the situation in due course,” Karad said.
The government in May withdrew its offer to sell its entire 52.98 per cent stake in BPCL, saying that majority of bidders have expressed their inability to participate in the current privatisation process due to prevailing conditions in the global energy market.
The government had planned to sell its entire 52.98 per cent stake in Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) and invited Expressions of Interest (EoIs) from bidders in March 2020. At least three bids came in by November 2020.
However, the privatisation was stalled after two bidders walked out over issues, such as lack of clarity in fuel pricing, with just one bidder left in the fray.
“…the majority of Qualified Interested Parties (QIPs) have expressed their inability to continue in the current process of disinvestment of BPCL,” Karad said.
Mining mogul Anil Agarwal’s Vedanta group, US venture funds Apollo Global Management Inc and I Squared Capital Advisors had expressed interest in buying the government’s stake in BPCL.
But the two funds withdrew after failing to rope in global investors amid waning interest in fossil fuels.
The government had not invited financial bids.
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