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Government allows online bid submission for BPCL stake sale

A notice issued by the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) said, “the IPs (interested parties) if they so desire.

SNS | New Delhi |

The government on Friday said that the interested bidders for the state-run BPCL can submit their preliminary bids for acquisition of country’s second-biggest oil refiner via e-mail. The decision was taken after taking the restrictions imposed by the pandemic into consideration.

A notice issued by the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) said, “the IPs (interested parties) if they so desire, may submit the complete EoI (expression of interest) in electronic form via e-mail with all the requisite documents in pdf format by the EoI due date.”

“All the documents submitted in the electronic form may either be scanned version of documents with physical signatures or signed digitally using a valid Digital Signature Certificate,” it added.

In September, the Centre had extended the deadline for bidding for privatisation of Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL) by one-and-a-half month to November 16. Initially, the EoI submission deadline was May 2 but it was first extended up to June 13, then to July 31 and later to September 30.

Last month, DIPAM Secretary Tuhin Kanta Pandey said there will be no more extension of bid deadline of BPCL.

In November last year, while the Cabinet had approved the sale of the government’s entire 52.98 per cent stake in BPCL, offers seeking EoI or bids showing interest in buying its stake were invited only on March 7.

The government is keen to close the sale before March 31, 2021, to help meet a record Rs 2.1 lakh crore target which Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has set from disinvestment proceeds in the Budget for 2020-21.

The Government of India is proposing strategic disinvestment of its entire shareholding in BPCL comprising 114.91 crore equity shares, according to the notice inviting offer. It constitutes 52.98 per cent of BPCL’s equity share capital along with transfer of management control to a strategic buyer (except BPCL’s equity shareholding of 61.65 per cent in Numaligarh Refinery), the notice added.