As the deadline for submitting the Expressions of Interest (EoI) for 52.98 per cent stake in the Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) nears, big names in the global oil market are showing interest in picking up the majority stake in the state-run oil company.
According to official sources, Saudi Aramco, Abu Dhabi National Oil Co (Adnoc), Rosneft of Russia and Exxon Mobil intend to participate in the bidding process for the PSU.
The deadline for submitting EoIs has been postponed twice and the current deadline ends on July 31.
Indian oil majors are not behind their global counterparts and are also actively pursuing the prospects of bidding for BPCL. Oil-to-telecom major Reliance Industries is understood to have shown interest for the bid.
The disinvestment in BPCL involves the government selling its entire 52.98 per cent stake in the company to a strategic investor with transfer of management control. The government has barred PSUs from bidding for BPCL and expects private sector Indian players and global MNCs to bid for its stake.
The Centre has allowed prospective bidders with a minimum net worth of $10 billion to present their bids.
Another condition pertains to a maximum of four members are permitted in a consortium, and the lead member must hold 40 per cent in proportion. Other members of the consortium must have a minimum $1 billion net worth.
The EOI allows changes in the consortium within 45 days, though the lead member cannot be changed.
The Indian government proposes to disinvest its entire shareholding in BPCL comprising 1,14,91,83,592 equity shares held through the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, which constitutes 52.98 per cent of BPCL's equity share capital, along with the transfer of management control to the strategic buyer (except BPCL's equity shareholding of 61.65 per cent in Numaligarh Refinery Ltd (NRL) and management control thereon).
The shareholding of BPCL in NRL will be transferred to a Central Public Sector Enterprise operating in the oil and gas sector under the Ministry and accordingly, is not a part of the proposed transaction.
The government's stake in BPCL is worth around Rs 43,000 crore at BPCL's current share price.
Shares of BPCL surged on Thursday on the possibilities of global companies bidding for the majority stake.
On Thursday, its shares on the BSE closed at Rs 394.05, higher by Rs 24.40 or 6.60 per cent from its previous close.