BPCL valuation too high, Vedanta will evaluate bid: Anil Agarwal

The government plans to sell its entire 52.98 per cent stake in BPCL | File Photo

Mining baron Anil Agarwal, who was among the first to evince interest in bidding for Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL), says valuation of the firm is too high and his company Vedanta will evaluate bidding for it when the final bid document is out.

At the close of trading on Friday, BPCL had a market capitalisation of Rs 92,464.40 crore. At this price, the government's Rs 52.98 per cent stake that is being sold in the country's largest privatisation exercise is worth about Rs 49,000 crore.

The acquirer will also be required to make an open offer for another 26 per cent stake from minority shareholders which will cost another Rs 24,000 crore.

"We certainly are interested in bidding but the valuations are too high," Agarwal told PTI here. "The bid document is not yet out and we will carefully evaluate bidding once the offer document is out."

He said share price has moved up 40-50 per cent since the time the government announced its plan to sell stake in November last year.

"There are lot of synergies BPCL has with our business. I am the largest private oil producer in the country" and BPCL has refineries to process it and a network of petrol pumps to sell fuel produced from it, he said. "We will evaluate bidding (for BPCL), let's see."

The government plans to sell its entire 52.98 per cent stake in BPCL that will give buyers ready access to 14 per cent of India's oil refining capacity and about one-fifth of the fuel market share in the world's fastest-growing energy market.

"We are in oil business. We produce 30 per cent oil and gas of the country and this has natural synergies with BPCL," Agarwal said.

A two-stage bidding process is to be followed for privatisation of BPCL, wherein request for proposal or RFP in the first stage will be followed by due diligence-cum-bidding by qualified bidders in the second phase.

Privatisation of BPCL is essential for meeting the record Rs 2.1 trillion target Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has set from disinvestment proceeds in the Budget for 2020-21 fiscal that starts April.

BPCL operates four refineries in Mumbai (Maharashtra), Kochi (Kerala), Bina (Madhya Pradesh) and Numaligarh (Assam) with a combined capacity of 38.3 million tonnes per annum, which is 15 per cent of India's total refining capacity of 249.4 million tonnes.

While the Numaligarh refinery will be carved out of BPCL and sold to a PSU, the new buyer of the company will get 35.3 million tonnes of refining capacity.

It also owns 15,177 petrol pumps and 6,011 LPG distributor agencies in the country.

Besides, it has 51 LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) bottling plants. The company distributes 21 per cent of petroleum products consumed in the country by volume as of March this year and has more than a fifth of the 250 aviation fuel stations in India.

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