IBEF: January 14, 2022
Vedanta Group is willing to pay $12 billion to buy India's state-owned refiner Bharat Petroleum Corp., in one of the country's largest asset sales that has faced delays.
In an interview in Riyadh on Wednesday, billionaire chairman Anil Agarwal said, "We are not going to bid aggressively, but we will set the proper price. The company's market cap is between $11 billion and $12 billion, therefore that is the amount of investment we are considering."
India's proposal to privatise BPCL has hit snags, with bidders unable to find partners and share their financial risks for the multibillion-dollar deal. Global oil companies were expected to combine up with investment groups to participate in the sale, according to the government. However, some bidders are finding it difficult to invest due to global sustainability standards that make substantial investments in fossil fuels more challenging.
The sale, which might be the country's largest privatisation, is critical for the government, which needs cash to fund its spending initiatives. It has already missed a September deadline to sell its whole 53 percent interest in BPCL, India's second-largest state refiner. The present market valuation of the company is around Rs 84,827 crore (US$ 11.4 billion).
India is expected to accept bids for BPCL in March, according to the commodities tycoon. Private equity firms Apollo Global Management and I Squared Capital, in addition to Vedanta Group, have expressed interest in buying the government's stake in the oil refinery.
"Everyone will be putting the money as the deal comes through," Agarwal said, adding that his company has teamed up with London-based Centricus Asset Management Ltd. to create a $10 billion war chest to buy assets that the Indian government wants to sell, such as a stake in Shipping Corporation of India.
Agarwal also discussed his numerous enterprises, expressing confidence that Vedanta would reclaim control of its copper facility in Zambia soon.
"Publicly, the new government stated that we have legal rights. A decision has been reached by the court. So I believe it is only a matter of time before we reclaim our possessions."
"We have put nearly $3 billion into Zambia, and we need to put another $2.5 billion in to make it world-class," he said.
Since May 2019, Vedanta Resources' Zambia copper unit has been in provisional liquidation, and the matter is still pending in court and arbitration.
Vedanta believes that investing in zinc mining projects in Saudi Arabia has a lot of promise.
On the environmental, social, and governance front, Agarwal stated that he plans to invest $20 billion in reforming operations to produce metals in a sustainable manner, without providing any further information.
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Disclaimer: This information has been collected through secondary research and IBEF is not responsible for any errors in the same.