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State-run Bharat Petroleum Corp. Ltd (BPCL) aims to complete the sale of its stake in Assam-based Numaligarh Refinery Ltd (NRL) by end-March. The company is also close to finalizing the transaction to buy a 36.62% stake in Bharat Oman Refineries Ltd (BORL) from its partner Oman Oil Co.

“We are hopeful that if the government approvals are there in the manner we work, then we will be able to close this by 31 March this year," said N. Vijayagopal, director, finance, BPCL.

Ahead of its strategic sale, BPCL is selling its stake in NRL. BPCL holds a 61.65% stake in NRL, while Oil India holds 26%, and the Assam government owns 12.35%. A transaction adviser hired by the state government is running the valuation process. The Assam government will increase its stake to 26%, while Engineers India Ltd will be a new shareholder with a minority stake, and the refinery will become a subsidiary of Oil India which currently holds 26% stake in the refinery.

The BPCL board has approved the share-purchase agreement and the draft has been shared with the buyers, Vijayagopal said.

The company will also buy 36.62% equity shares from Oman Oil in BORL. “We have concluded the discussions with Oman Oil Company, and the deal will be finalized in the next 10 days," Vijayagopal said. BORL built and operates a 7.8-million tonne refinery at Bina, Madhya Pradesh. It is a key refiner for BPCL as it helps the company serve northern and central India, and receives crude supply from a cross-country pipeline from Vadinar to Bina.

On Monday, BPCL reported a 120% rise in its net profit for the quarter ended December to 2,777.62 crore. The company’s third-quarter revenue rose 1.4% to 86,579.95 crore. The third-quarter profit was boosted by an inventory gain of 771 crore and a foreign exchange gain of 76 crore.

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