On Tuesday, shares of BPLC declined as much as 5 percent to Rs 392.10 after the bidding for a major stake in the company failed to attract supermajors Saudi Aramco, BP and Total or even Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Industries.
Global and domestic companies were invited by the government to submit their expressions of interest (EoI) for its 52.98 percent stake in Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL) by Monday's deadline.
"Strategic disinvestment of BPCL now moves to the second stage after multiple expressions of interest have been received," tweeted Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman without mentioning the number of bids received or the names of the bidders.
According to a PTI report citing four industry officials, 3-4 bids have been put in.
Reliance Industries, which was considered a potential bidder as BPCL would have added 22 percent fuel market share to its fledgling retail business and made it the nation's number one oil refiner, did not put in an expression of interest (EoI) at the close of the deadline on Monday, the PTI report said.
Saudi Arabian Oil Company (Saudi Aramco), which had been keen to enter the world's fastest-growing fuel market, too did not put in an EoI.
UK's BP plc and Total of France - who have plans to foray into the Indian fuel market - had previously ruled themselves out of the BPCL race as they did not want to add oil refining assets when the world was moving away from liquid fuels.
A clutch of private equity funds and/or pension funds are said to have put in an EoI, according to PTI.
Mining billionaire Anil Agarwal is considered another potential bidder given his interest in the oil and gas business with the USD 8.67 billion acquisition of Cairn India.
Sources told PTI that transaction advisors will now evaluate the bidders to ascertain if they indeed meet the qualifying criteria and would have the financial muscle to do the acquisition. This process may take 2-3 weeks, thereafter request for proposal (RFP) will be issued and financial bids sought.
BPCL will give the buyer ownership to 15.33 percent of India's oil refining capacity and 22 percent of the fuel marketing share.
Privatisation of BPCL is essential is part of the government aim to mean the record disinvestment target of Rs 2.1 lakh crore for the current financial year.