Finance Secretary TV Somanathan is unsure if the divestment of government-owned Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) will go through this fiscal.
"There is a good chance of LIC divestment going through this year. I am not so clear in my mind on BPCL. However, we are not likely to fully achieve the disinvestment target," he said in an exclusive interview to CNBC-TV18.
His remarks come after government sources had last week indicated that “the situation is tight” on the BPCL divestment with no clarity about the financial bids. The financial bids could come in during the current financial year itself or might spill over to the next financial year, they said.
However, Tuhin Kanta Pandey, the secretary of the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management said, on November 17 said, the government aims to complete the privatisation of five to six state-owned companies, including Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd, in the current fiscal year.
The chairman of BPCL too had earlier said that the Centre intends to conclude the disinvestment worth over Rs 50,000 crore by March 2022.
However, credit rating agency Fitch Ratings had predicted that BPCL’s privatisation may be delayed. “Bidders are conducting due diligence, but uncertainty over the bidder consortiums and process complexity, including valuation, may lead to potential delays," it said in September this year.
At present, the Centre holds a 52.98 percent stake in BPCL and the company (or companies) interested in taking over the crude oil refiner will have to shell upwards of Rs 50,000 crore at the current market prices.
In November 2020, multiple bidders, including Vedanta, Apollo Global Management, and Think Gas, showed interest in BPCL. Subsequently, in April 2021, the bidders were allowed to access the financial data of the BPCL to better assess the valuation.