Finance

ONGC gets cabinet nod for acquiring 51% govt stake In HPCL

ONGC gets cabinet nod for acquiring 51% govt stake In HPCL

This is the harbinger of more such merger and acquisition (M&A) activities in the oil sector, top government functionaries said after the Cabinet's panel on economic affairs cleared ONGC's proposal to acquire the government 51.11% stake in HPCL amid indication that northeast explorer Oil India Ltd may go to the country's largest state-owned refiner retailer Indian Oil next.

The sale of the 51.1% stake in HPCL to ONGC is likely to fetch the government around Rs 29,000 crore at current market prices.

While the government's decision to waive the open offer condition for ONGC was expected, analysts say such an offer would have increased the deal size by close to '15,000 crore.

The cabinet backed the plan to sell the government's 51.1% holding in HPCL to ONGC, the person told reporters, asking not to be identified because the information isn't public.

Prior to the merger, HPCL is likely to take over Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals (MRPL) to bring all the refining assets of ONGC under one unit.

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After the stake buying, HPCL will continue as a separate entity and a subsidiary of ONGC.

A Bloomberg report citing a senior government official said the deal will be exempted from the mandatory open offer that is to be made under the takeover code when selling more than 26 per cent stake.

He also said that ONGC has already prepared plan for funding HPCL stake buy. Sarraf said there was a strong case for merging MRPL, which ONGC had acquired in March 2003 from AV Birla Group, with HPCL but no modalities have been worked out yet. Jaitley had in his Budget for 2017-18 fiscal talked about creating an integrated oil behemoth.

"We propose to create an integrated public sector "oil major" which will be able to match the performance of global and domestic private sector oil and gas companies". ONGC had evaluated options of acquiring either HPCL or BPCL - the two downstream oil refining and fuel marketing companies. HPCL will add 23.8 million tonnes of annual oil refining capacity to ONGC's portfolio, making it the third-largest refiner in the country after International Olympic Committee and Reliance Industries.