BPCL plans to merge Bharat Oman Refineries with self before sell-off

Topics BPCL | Indian refineries

In March, BPCL had increased its stake in BORL by conversion of ~650-cr worth of warrants into shares, raising its stake to 63.38 per cent from 50 per cent
Bharat Petroleum Corporation (BPCL) may go in for merging Bharat Oman Refineries (BORL) before the divestment process, if OQ, (formerly known as Oman Oil Company), agrees to sell its 26 per cent stake in the BPCL arm. Currently, BPCL’s stake in the company is around 63.38 per cent and that of OQ around 36.62 per cent. 

However, taking debentures and warrants into account, the overall equity of BPCL would come to around 74 per cent, and for OQ, around 26 per cent stake, said a source. 

He added if the state-owned Oman company agrees to the deal, it would be better to merge BORL with BPCL. This is because it will give tax advantage in selling products and also raise the value of BPCL in the privatisation process.   

Addressing the media recently, BPCL’s director (finance) N Vijayagopal had said, “We have just opened a dialogue with Oman. Both the parties are interested. Since it is a commissioned deal, we will not be able to set a timeline to it.” 

In March, BPCL had increased its stake in BORL by conversion of Rs 650-crore worth of warrants into shares, raising its stake to 63.38 per cent from 50 per cent. In addition, BPCL had given a loan of Rs 1,254.10 crore to BORL and subscribed to its share warrants.

Further, the Madhya Pradesh government also subscribed to Rs 26.90 crore of the share warrants in BORL. BPCL has also subscribed to zero per cent compulsorily convertible debentures of Rs 1,000 crore in BORL. 

As on March 31, BORL had authorised share capital of Rs 7,000 crore and paid-up equity share capital of Rs 2,426.83 crore.

BORL’s net loss for 2019-20 stood at Rs 803.50 crore due to the outbreak of Covid-19, as compared to a net profit of Rs 106.71 crore in the previous year. The company reported revenue from operations of Rs 41,940.96 crore in the financial year ended March 31, 2020, compared to Rs 31,597.59 crore recorded in the previous financial year. 

Crude oil intake during 2019-20 was 7,913 thousand metric tonnes (TMT) with average capacity utilisation of 95 per cent in Bina, the only refinery of BORL in India.

After concerns raised by prospective bidders over travelling from various countries to do physical due diligence, the government had postponed the date of submission of expressions of interest (EoIs) for the fourth time last month to November 16.

The department of investment and public asset management (DIPAM), in a notification, said the decision is being taken “in view of requests from interested bidders and the prevailing situation arising out of Covid-19 pandemic.”

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