Government allows online bid submission for BPCL buy-out

The government on Friday allowed submission of preliminary bids for acquisition of BPCL electronically through e-mail in view of the restrictions placed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “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,” the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) said in a notice on its website.

In September, the government had extended the deadline for bidding for privatisation of India’s second-biggest oil refiner Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL) by one-and-a-half month to November 16.

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.

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.

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.

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