India has allowed bidders access to the financial data of Bharat Petroleum Corp. as the government moves ahead with plans to sell its entire stake in the country’s second-biggest state refiner, according to people familiar with the matter.
The data room has been open since the last week of April and some bidders have held meetings with BPCL management, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified as the talks are private.
Shares in BPCL erased losses in Mumbai after the Bloomberg News report, rising as much as 3% to their highest level since March 16. The government's 53% stake in the refiner is valued at about Rs 50,900 crore ($6.9 billion) based on Friday’s closing price.
The BPCL privatization, which could be the country’s biggest, is crucial for India. The government needs to raise capital to make up the fall in tax revenues as the pandemic hit the economy. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said last month the plan to raise about $23 billion from selling stakes in state-run companies, including BPCL, is still on course despite the fresh wave of coronavirus infections.
The recent Covid-19 outbreak could still slow down the sale process, one of the people said. A representative for the finance ministry declined to comment, while a representative for BPCL didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.