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The Government of India has agreed to sell 53.3% of its stake of oil marketing firm Bharat Petroleum Corporation (BPCL).

According to the Press Trust of India, the government is considering plans to sell BPCL to foreign and private firms.

However, the news agency noted that the privatisation plan will need prior approval from parliament.

India Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that the decision is part of a move to bridge a widening fiscal gap in the country and to meet the disinvestment target for the fiscal year 2019-20.

She mentioned that the proposed sale will not include the Numaligarh Refinery (NRL) in the state of Assam, which will be later sold to another state-run company.

News 18 quoted Equinomics Research founder and managing director Chokkalingam as revealing to another media house that, ‘given the current scenario, investors should stay put for now and wait for suitors to queue up’.

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He added: “It is only then that the true value of these central public sector enterprises (CPSEs) will be discovered, helping the stocks gain more ground, especially in the case of BPCL.”

According to the country’s officials, BPCL will be an attractive buy for companies, ranging from Saudi Aramco to French energy giant Total, which are already in the process of entering the fuel retail market worldwide.

BPCL operates four refineries at Mumbai, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh and Assam with a combined capacity to convert 38.3Mt of crude oil into fuel.

The company owns 15,078 petrol pumps and 6,004 liquified petroleum gas (LPG) distributors, among the total 65,554 petrol pumps and 24,026 LPG distributors in India.

BPCL’s upstream exploration and production plans are being undertaken through its wholly owned subsidiary Bharat PetroResources (BPRL), which currently has participating interest in 17 exploration blocks, which includes six in Brazil.