Shares of Bharat Petroleum Corporation (BPCL) fell more than seven percent intraday on October 7 after the government quietly cleared the way for privatisation of the company.
This is the second consecutive fall in the counter, after losing three percent in the previous trade. At 1048 hours IST, the stock was quoting Rs 495.40, down Rs 19.80, or 3.84 percent, on the BSE.
Ahead of a proposed move to fully privatise the state-owned fuel retailer, the government had quietly repealed the legislation that had nationalised the company, doing away with the need to seek Parliament nod before selling it off to private and foreign firms.
The Repealing and Amending Act of 2016 had annulled “187 obsolete and redundant laws lying unnecessarily on the Statue-Book” including the Act of 1976 that had nationalised erstwhile Burmah Shell. “The Act has been repealed and there is no need for a Parliament approval for strategic sale of BPCL,” a senior official said.
Keen to get multi-nationals in domestic fuel retailing to boost competition, the government plans to sell most of its 53.3 percent stake in BPCL to a strategic partner.
Privatisation of BPCL will not just shake up the fuel retailing sector, long dominated by state-owned firms, but help meet at least a third of the government’s Rs 1.05 lakh crore disinvestment target.
BPCL has a market capitalisation of about Rs 1.07 lakh crore and a government stake sale could garner upwards of Rs 60,000 crore, including a control-and-fuel-market-entry premium, officials told PTI.
BPCL offers an attractive buy for companies ranging from Saudi Aramco of Saudi Arabia to French energy giant Total SA, which are vying to enter the world’s fastest-growing fuel retail market. It will offer them 34 million tonne in refining capacity and access to about 25 percent share of India’s fuel marketing.
BPCL was previously Burmah Shell, which in 1976 was nationalised by an Act of Parliament. Burmah Shell, set up in the 1920s, was an alliance between Royal Dutch Shell and Burmah Oil Co and Asiatic Petroleum (India).
The company has 15,078 petrol pumps and 6,004 LPG distributors.
Meanwhile, CLSA has maintained its sell call on the stock with a target price of Rs 300, implying a 42 percent downside from current levels.
“The stock rally has not left much on table even under privatisation. It may trade around Rs 445 per share based on peer multiples,” the global brokerage said, adding the stock is already building in bids at a market capitalisation of $16 billion and is ignoring several hurdles.
(With inputs from PTI)
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