India government to go ahead with stake sale in Bharat Petroleum Corp as per schedule

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The government of India has decided to go ahead with the privatisation of Bharat Petroleum Corporation (BPCL) in a time-bound manner. There were speculations that the deadline for submitting the expression of interest (EOI) might be extended further from the current date of July 31.

However, Business Standard reports indicate that the government wanted to complete the stake sale within this financial year as the economic front was looking up.

An empowered group of secretaries, headed by Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba, deliberated on nearly 100 queries raised by the prospective bidders and decided to provide clarifications to them. The other members of the committee included NITI Aayog Chief Executive Amitabh Kant and Department of Investment and Public Asset Management Secretary Tuhin Kumar Pandey.

Global majors Saudi Aramco, Rosneft and Exxon Mobil have shown keenness to participate in the bidding process. Other companies that had participated in the BPCL roadshows include Shell, Chevron, and ConocoPhilps.

Meanwhile Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd. (BPCL) has offered a voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) to its employees above 45 years of age as the government steps up effort to privatise the state-run oil and gas company.

According to company insiders, almost 60 per cent of the total 11,894 employees could be eligible to avail of the scheme. A large number of employees are expected to opt for the scheme — Bharat Petroleum Voluntary Retirement Scheme-2020 (BPVRS-2020) — as they fear uncertainty about their future because of the disinvestment move. 

Following the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management’s (DIPAM’s) detailed response to initial queries by potential bidders, the stockmarket accounted for the increased pace of disinvestment by the government. Consequently, investor interest in the stock was renewed. BPCL shares jumped 12 per cent on the news. 

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