New Delhi: Amidst the economic crisis created by the pandemic, the central government is pushing for the sale of shares of Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited. Petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan, on Wednesday, clarified that three companies have submitted expressions of interest (EoI) in purchasing the 53 per cent shares put out for sale and that the government shall initiate the due process.
Last month, it was intimated that the controversial mining company Vedanta Limited had expressed interest in the corporation. The other companies are of global funds including Apollo global management. However, the minister did not mention the details of the interested.
The sale of shares was announced in November 2019 but couldn't be completed as expected due to the Covid-induced slowdown. In the meantime, the deadline for submitting EoI was extended four times. Selling the corporation now would create terrible loss to the treasury as, within this one year, the cost of shares of the corporation has fallen by a fourth. The government has chosen to go ahead with the sale overlooking loss and widespread protest.
The government had decided to sell shares of public sector enterprises to private parties and avail 2.10 lakh crores in the ongoing fiscal year. But as investors shied away from bold investments in this Covid crisis, sale turnout has been only 6138 crores. The sale of BPCL shares is expected to fetch the government around 43000 crores.
BPCL, the second-largest petroleum company in the country, has four refineries across India, 17355 petrol pumps, and 6156 LPG distribution agencies. The company also possesses assets outside the country.