You are here: Home » Companies » News
Business Standard

IOC, BPCL may buy 26% stake each in GAIL at more than Rs 400 billion

At Friday's closing price of Rs 440.85 a share for GAIL on BSE, the stake is worth close to Rs 410 billion

Topics
Gail Stake Sale

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

crude edible oil

State-owned Indian Oil Corp (IOC) and Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL) may buy 26 per cent stake each in gas utility GAIL India Ltd, paying the government over Rs 200 billion each to become integrated energy firms.

Following Finance Minister Arun Jaitley's February 2017 Budget announcement of creating integrated oil majors, IOC and BPCL had submitted separate proposals to buy the government's 54.89 per cent stake in India's biggest gas marketing and transportation firm, GAIL.

A top source said since the government is not looking at actual merger of oil but only transfer of its ownership to a cash rich PSU, the best option would be to split the 54.89 per cent holding in GAIL equally between IOC and BPCL.

At Friday's closing price of Rs 440.85 a share for GAIL on BSE, the stake is worth close to Rs 410 billion.

In January this year, Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) bought out government's 51.11 per cent stake in refiner Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) for Rs 369.15 billion. But HPCL hasn't been merged with ONGC and continues to remain a separate listed company with the same board. After the buyout, HPCL has become a subsidiary of ONGC, which gets up to two seats on the company board.

The source said IOC and BPCL too can follow the same model and split the government's stake equally among themselves. GAIL will become their subsidiary and will continue to operate as a listed company with an independent board. IOC and BPCL would get to appoint one director each on GAIL board.

Like in case of ONGC's acquisition of HPCL, the government would get to encash its holding in GAIL yet retain control over the company through IOC and BPCL.

The source said the government has so far not taken any view on the proposals made by IOC and BPCL. How and to whom the stake would be sold will be decided after inter-ministerial consultations, he said adding that the option of splitting the stake equally among the two firms is one of the options that would be considered during such deliberations.

Jaitley in the 2017-18 Budget had unveiled government's plan to create integrated public sector oil majors "through consolidation, mergers and acquisitions" so as that the merged company has "capacity to bear higher risks, avail economies of scale, take higher investment decisions" and is "able to match the performance of international and domestic private .

Following this, ONGC expressed interest in taking over HPCL while IOC and BPCL said they keen on taking over GAIL to help add natural gas transportation and marketing business to their kitty.

The government took up ONGC's proposal first and the transaction was completed at January-end this year.IOC, the largest oil refiner and fuel marketing company in the country, wanted to either acquire another refiner to add to its capacity or a gas company like GAIL.

The firm feels it already has a fledging gas business in under-construction liquefied natural gas terminals, city gas distribution projects and gas marketing. And GAIL, the nation's biggest gas transporter and marketing company, would complement that.

BPCL, on the other hand, too has natural gas ambitions and wrote to the oil ministry saying GAIL was its number one choice for acquisition. It listed Oil India Ltd, the nation's second largest exploration firm, as its number two choice.

The government holds 66.13 per cent stake in OIL, which at current market price is worth about Rs 180 billion.

Incorporated in August 1984 by spinning off gas business of ONGC, GAIL (India) Ltd owns and operates about 11,000-km of natural gas pipelines in the country. It sells around 60 per cent of natural gas in the country. The source said the government has not taken any decision on the proposals sent by other PSUs.

Incorporated in August 1984 by spinning off gas business of ONGC, GAIL (India) Ltd owns and operates about 11,000-km of natural gas pipelines in the country. It sells around 60 per cent of natural gas in the country. The source said the government has not taken any decision on the proposals sent by other PSUs.

Dear Reader,


Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.
We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

First Published: Sun, March 18 2018. 13:43 IST
RECOMMENDED FOR YOU
.