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BPCL selloff hurdles

Global energy players are keen to pick up the government’s 52.98 per cent stake in BPCL, given the country’s projected fuel demand over the next few years. However, they are looking at clarity over fuel pricing and other issues and waiting for the travel restrictions to be lifted, analysts said.

After the deadline for the submission of expressions of interest was extended for the third time, concerns have been raised over whether the interest of global investors was waning.

“A combination of global and domestic factors are at play in the context of BPCL’s privatisation. Several global firms have recently announced commitments to reduce fossil fuel production and thereby carbon emissions. The pandemic has also restricted movement of people. Interested bidders would like to site visits and hold in-person meetings with management teams to evaluate such a large transaction,” said Dilip Khanna, partner, strategy and transactions, EY.

K. Ravichandran, senior VP and energy analyst at Icra, said, “Once the pandemic-related restrictions are removed, there would be increased interest in the sector. One of the issues of concern for global investors would be pricing of fuel like petrol and diesel, and they could seek clarity on it.”