India Refiner Going for Privatization to Spend $13.5 Billion
(Bloomberg) -- Bharat Petroleum Corp., the state-run refiner in the process of being sold by the Indian government, plans to spend 1 trillion rupees ($13.5 billion) over the next five years to expand and diversify its businesses.
The bulk of the investment will be in five areas: petrochemicals, natural gas, electric mobility, consumer retailing, renewables and bio-fuels, Chairman Arun Kumar Singh said in a virtual conference Monday.
“The energy landscape is changing fast and energy transition toward a low-carbon future has accelerated and BPCL is actively exploring new business opportunities for sustained growth,” he said.
Refiners globally are betting big on plastics and renewables as they seek to diversify from an increasingly challenging fuels business and a global push for cleaner energy. Bharat Petroleum’s rivals Indian Oil Corp. and billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries Ltd. are spending billions of dollars to build an industry around decarbonization.
Bharat Petroleum will invest 300 billion rupees in petrochemicals to make propylene and ethylene derivatives, and another 200 billion rupees to expand its gas business, including retailing of liquefied natural gas as a transportation fuel, Singh said.
The nation’s second-biggest fuel retailer also plans to convert a bulk of its fuel stations into energy stations, providing multiple fueling options including electric vehicle charging and hydrogen.
The company, in which the government plans to sell its entire stake by March, will use its own resources and borrow money to fund the expenditure, said Finance Director V.R.K. Gupta.
BPCL has ample headroom to stretch its debt-equity ratio and can also reduce dividend payout to make funds available for investing in growth, Gupta added.
©2021 Bloomberg L.P.