Vedanta submits EoI with eye on government stake in BPCL

Mining conglomerate Vedanta has put in a preliminary expression of interest (EoI) for buying the government’s stake in Bharat Petroleum Corp. Ltd (BPCL), for which a major foreign player too is said to be in race.

A special purpose vehicle floated by the BSE-listed Vedanta Ltd and its London-based parent Vedanta Resources submitted an EoI before the close of deadline on November 16.

“Vedanta’s EoI for BPCL is to evaluate potential synergies with our existing oil and gas business,” the company said in a statement. “The EoI is at a preliminary stage and exploratory in nature.” Sources in the department handling the sale said the EoI has been put in by a special purpose vehicle or SPV floated by Vedanta Ltd and Vedanta Resources.

They also stated that a major foreign player was among the three-four entities whose expressions of interest were received by the close of the bidding on November 16.

The other potential investors are foreign funds but their identity was not immediately disclosed.

The government is selling its entire 52.98% stake in India’s second largest fuel retailer as part of plans to raise a record ₹2.1 lakh crore from disinvestment proceeds in 2020-21 (April 2020 to March 2021).

Vedanta’s interest in Bharat Petroleum Corp. stems from its $8.67 billion acquisition of oil producer Cairn India nearly a decade back. The company produces oil from oilfields in Rajasthan which are used in refineries such as those operated by Bharat Petroleum Corp. to turn them into petrol, diesel and other fuels.

“Strategic disinvestment of BPCL progresses: Now moves to the second stage after multiple expressions of interest have been received,” Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman had also tweeted on Monday.

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