The COVID-19 pandemic and preparations for the initial public offering (IPO) of Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) have slowed down the government's plan of strategic sale of refiner Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL).
The discussions with potential investors for BPCL stake have not progressed much recently, Bloomberg reported quoting sources.
The government plans to sell its entire 53.98 per cent stake in BPCL. Three firms, including Vedanta, have showed interest in buying the stake.
The sale of the fuel retailer is likely to take place in early 2022 and not in 2021, the news agency quoted a source as saying. While the discussions have slowed down, the divestment hasn't been stalled. Discussions are going on for potential bids for government's stake.
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The Centre has budgeted Rs 1.75 lakh crore from stake sale in public sector companies and financial institutions, including 2 PSU banks and one insurance company, in the current fiscal.
Preparations are on full swing for the IPO of LIC. According to some estimates, the government can raise Rs 90,000-Rs 1,00,000 crore through the IPO.
Last week, the government invited bids from merchant bankers and legal advisors for advising it on the proposed mega IPO. Earlier this month, the Union Cabinet approved the IPO. The modalities such as issue size, pricing and timing would be decided by a panel headed by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
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