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Bharat Petroleum divestment makes headway, more steps needed: Fitch

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Acknowledging progress in Bharat Petroleum’s divestment process, Fitch Ratings said that multiple steps are still needed.

Accordingly, BPCL has made headway on a key pre-condition to its divestment and other key milestones over the last six weeks, including the finalisation of terms to purchase Oman Oil Company’s 36.6 per cent stake in its Bina refinery in February 2021.

Besides, It also sold 5.8 per cent of its 7.3 per cent treasury shares and approved the sale of its 61.7 per cent stake in Numaligarh Refinery in March.

“The current book value of BPCL’s NRL investment is Rs 4.5 billion and the transaction will be subject to 20 per cent long-term capital gains tax on the consideration value less the indexed cost of the acquisition and improvement as ascertained by the company.”

“This results in net proceeds of Rs 130 billion for BPCL, less the long-term capital gains tax, although the timing of each transaction may vary. The impact on BPCL’s Standalone Credit Profile (SCP) will depend on the extent to which the proceeds are used to reduce debt or make dividend payments in the coming year.”

In March, BPCL had declared an interim dividend of Rs 11 billion.

“However, there is still little information about bidders, valuations or potential restrictions for the new owner in relation to employee protection, asset stripping and investment lock-in.

“Fitch is also monitoring the progress on interested parties receiving security clearances from the government, access to the data room, the start of the due diligence process, reserve-price disclosure by the government, the submission of financial bids by bidders and the solicitation of lenders’ consent should a winning bid be selected.

“Furthermore, BPCL’s bonds, which had USD2 billion outstanding as of end-2020, will need to be refinanced or the holders’ consent solicited, should the government accept a winning bid triggering the change of control clause.

“We believe the extent of refinancing or consent will depend on BPCL’s rating at the time. We do not expect the government to halt the sale should it be dissatisfied with the financial bids, given its budgeted disinvestment target and strongly articulated intent, but this could prolong the process.

“Fitch believes there is a need for further clarity on the future of subsidies paid to BPCL’s customers on the sale of liquified petroleum gas and kerosene as well as the freedom on pricing of petrol and diesel before the divestment can conclude.”

Traditionally, Centre has used oil marketing companies, including BPCL, to carry out its socio-political agenda, but private companies may be less inclined to bear such regulatory risk.

“The sale of the government’s entire shareholding in BPCL would lead to a reassessment of BPCL’s ratings, based on a reassessment of its SCP and the nature of the potential buyers, including the credit quality of any majority parent and Fitch’s assessment of the strength of linkages between the new parent and BPCL.”

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Mumbai: Virar-Dahanu railway project soon to be quadrupled

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The Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA) has decided to recommend to the environment ministry from the CRZ point of view the Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation’s (MRVC) proposal for quadrupling of Virar Dahanu railway project under Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP) phase III.

The proposed corridor is planned on the west side and parallel to the existing line. However, MCZMA has laid down 10 conditions that will have to be complied with during project development. MCZMA took this decision at its meeting held on November 10 though its minutes were released on November 30. 

MRVC has submitted that there will be a saving of about 1 hour daily in travel time of 5 lakh passengers and the corridor will serve the requirement of about 2 million population in the section from Virar to Dahanu Road in Palghar district. However, MCZMA stressed the need to strike a balance between the development and environment.

‘’The project proponent (PP) needs to exercise extra caution with the objective to have less impact on the surrounding mangroves and coastal ecology. During the construction phase, all possible efforts/measures should be taken to maintain the coastal ecology and biodiversity.  Necessary training/awareness should be imparted to contractors and workers so that adequate environmental safeguards could be implemented on site during project execution,’’ said the MCZMA.Mumbai: Western Railways floats tender for new terminus at Jogeshwari station

Further, MCZMA directed that PP should obtain prior high court permission as per its order dated September 17, 2018 since the project involves cutting of mangroves. Further, PP should seek no objection certificate from Mangrove Cell and carry out compensatory mangrove plantation with its consultation. PP will have to obtain the prior Forest Clearance under Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980.

According to MCZMA, PP will ensure that noise and vibration level is within permissible limit during the construction phase of the project and it will also strictly ensure that activities of local fishermen communities would not be hampered.

MCZMA has said that PP should implement the Environment Management Plan (EMP)  effectively and efficiently during construction and operational phases to ensure that the coastal environment is protected. There should be a third party monitoring/audit of all such management initiatives by government agencies during and after completion of project from time to time.

Moreover, PP shall set up a full fledged in-house Environment Management Cell for effective implementation of the EMP including mangrove replantation plan, monitoring and Disaster Management Plan. No labour camps are allowed in CRZ area and it should also be ensured that the waste water from these entities should not be released into the sea. Mobile toilets with mobile sewage treatment plants will be provided in the work front area.

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Karjat Yard Modification: Central Railway to operate special traffic and power block on Dec 3 and 4

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The Central Railway (CR) Mumbai division on Friday said, it will operate a special traffic and power block on December 3 for stationing of boom portal at Karjat station in connection with Karjat yard modification.
In a press release, the CR said, block 1 on December 3 will be from 10.45 am to 12.15 pm (90 minutes) from Bhivpuri Road to Palasdhari on all lines and block 2 on December 4, will be from 11.20 am to 12.20 pm from Bhivpuri Road to Palasdhari on all lines.
It said, during the block, the running pattern of suburban trains would be-

Karjat locals leaving CSMT at 09.01 am, 09.30 am and 09.57 am will run upto Neral

CSMT locals leaving Karjat at 10.45 am, 11.19 am, 12.00 noon services will run from Neral instead of Karjat.

Khopoli locals leaving Karjat at 10.40 am and 12.00 noon will remain cancelled.

Karjat locals leaving Khopoli at 11.20 am and 12.40 pm will remain cancelled.
Following Express trains will be regulated at Lonavala, Palasdhari and arrive destination behind schedule

Train No 22731 Hyderabad-Mumbai Superfast Express
Train No 16587 Yesvantpur-Bikaner Express
Train No 11014 Coimbatore-LTTExpress

It further said, during block 2 on December 4, from 11.20 am to 12.20 pm from Bhivpuri Road to Palasdhari on all lines

Karjat locals leaving CSMT at 09.30 am and 09.57 am will run upto Neral
CSMT locals leaving Karjat at 11.19 am and 12.00 noon will run from Neral instead of Karjat.

Khopoli local leaving Karjat at 12.00 noon and Karjat local leaving Khopoli at 11.20 am will remain cancelled.

11014 Coimbatore-LTT Express will arrive destination behind schedule

No suburban services will be available between Neral and Khopoli during the block period.

CR have requested the passengers to bear with the railway administration for the inconvenience caused due to these infrastructure blocks.

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Navi Mumbai: CIDCO speeds up work of remaining 6 stations on Metro Line-1, plans to commission full line at one go

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 The City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO) has sped up the work on the remaining six stations after the Navi Mumbai Metro project has received financial backing of Rs 500 crore. At present, the work on six stations from the Belapur end is in full swing and expected to be commissioned very soon.

After the financial closure of the Navi Mumbai metro, the planning agency CIDCO has sped up the work on the remaining stretch of phase one of the project. Line-1 of the Navi Mumbai Metro is 11.1 km long, with 5.4 km completed from the Taloja end.

According to sources, CIDCO is planning to open the full stretch of the Metro line in one go. “The work of the remaining six stations is in full swing and expected to meet the next deadline,” said an official close to the project, requesting anonymity.

Last week, the Navi Mumbai Metro project of CIDCO received financial backing as it signed an agreement with the ICICI Bank for a line credit of Rs. 500 crore. Following the line of credit sanctioned by ICICI Bank, the financial closure process for the Metro Line-1 project has been completed.

The estimated cost of the Metro Line-1 project is Rs. 3,400 crores, of which Rs. 2,600 crores have already been invested by CIDCO, Rs. 500 crores have been borrowed from a bank as a line of credit, and the remainder will be met by CIDCO internal accruals.

“Considering the importance of the Metro Project in the internal connectivity of Navi Mumbai, this project will give the best travel option to citizens and boost the real estate sector,” said a senior CIDCO official.

At present, the finishing work of stations at CBD Belapur Terminal, CIDCO Science Park, Utsav Chwok, and Sector 14 in Kharghar is in full swing. Line-1 runs for 11.1 kilometres from Belapur to Pendhar and has 11 stations.

However, approximately 5.4 kilometres from Pendhar to Central Park in Kharghar are complete and ready for use. All necessary clearances, including CMRS, have been obtained for a 5.4-kilometer stretch beginning at Pendhar. “Work on the remaining 6 stations is in full swing, and the complete line is expected to be commissioned very soon,” said the official.

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