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Monday,25-October-2021

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Privatisation-bound BPCL postpones key expansion projects

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Privatisation-bound PSU refiner Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd. (BPCL) has delayed expansion plans for its refinery projects, pending its share sell off programme that will see government completely exiting from the company and handing over its management to a strategic investor.

BPCL has plans to expand its Bina refinery and take efficiency improvement measures at Mumbai refinery. But investment decisions on both the projects are now left for the new owners in the company that is expected to take control after the current bidding process ends, sources said that a senior BPCL officials told analysts at a recent post results conference call.

The Bina Refinery expansion involves taking up its capacity from present 7.8 million tonne to 15 mt over next five years with an investment of over Rs 30,000 crore. Plan is also to set up a petrochemicals unit with a 1.5 mtpa naphtha cracker.

With regard to Mumbai refinery the plan is to connect the unit with an ethylene cracker plant set up at an alternate location.

These expansion plan will now be kept on the back burner till clarity emerged over the company’s new owners.

Government is selling its entire 53.29 per cent stake in BPCL to a strategic investor to mobilise over Rs 50,000 crore as disinvestment receipt. This will help in containing country’s rising fiscal deficit that is slated to these clause to 8 per cent of GDP due to adverse impact of Covid-19 pandemic.

The strategic sale process at this juncture has not been easy as initial bidding date under the process being already postponed on four occasions. The latest EoI submission date is November 16.

Sources said that BPCL official, during the analyst call, put complete toon of sale process by the end of current fiscal year as challenging because any worsening of pandemic situation would curb travel required to assess its assets by potential investors.

Business

Equity indices trade lower; Sensex down by over 300 pts

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India’s key equity indices – S&P BSE Sensex and NSE Nifty50 – traded lower during Monday’s early-morning session.

At 10 a.m., the 30-scrip sensitive index traded at 60,504.75 points, down 316.87 points or 0.52 per cent.

The Sensex opened at 61,398.75 points from its previous close of 60,821.62 points.

Besides, the NSE Nifty50 traded at 17,989.40 points, lower by 125.50 points or 0.69 per cent.

It opened at 18,229.50 points from its previous close of 18,114.90 points.

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Nissan, Porsche face action over false emissions information

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South Korea’s antitrust regulator has decided to order Nissan Motor, Porsche AG and their two Korean units to take corrective steps for falsified information over gas emissions of their diesel cars.

Nissan Motor, Nissan Korea, Porsche and Porsche Korea are alleged to have stated false information about gas emissions of their diesel vehicles imported for sale in South Korea, according to the Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC).

The KFTC also decided to impose a fine of 173 million won ($146,700) only on Nissan Korea, reports Yonhap news agency.

Illegal software installed in their cars caused gas emission reduction devices to not fully operate during normal driving conditions.

The practice meant that the cars did not meet permissible emission levels, but the automakers falsified such facts in signs attached to their cars, according to the commission.

In September, the regulator fined Audi-Volkswagen Korea and Stellantis Korea a combined 1.06 billion won for similar allegations over gas emissions.

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Fuel price hike paused after 5 days of increase

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The price hike of petrol and diesel paused on Monday after increasing for the last five days to reach their highest-ever levels across the country.

Accordingly, the pump price of petrol in Delhi remained at Rs 107.59 a litre, while diesel prices also stood at Sunday’s level of Rs 96.32 a litre, according to a price notification of state-owned fuel retailers.

In the financial capital Mumbai, where petrol prices increased to Rs 113.47 per litre and diesel to Rs 104.47 a litre, the highest among all metros, there was no further hike in the retail rates on Monday.

The fuel prices remained static on October 18 and 19, but increased for a fourth straight day by 35 paise per litre previously before again rising for five consecutive days between October 20 to 24. There was no change in rates on October 12 and 13.

Diesel prices have now increased on 24 out of the last 31 days, taking up its retail price by Rs 7.80 per litre in Delhi.

Due to the sharp hike, the fuel is now available at over Rs 100 a litre in several parts of the country.

This dubious distinction was earlier available to petrol that had crossed Rs 100 a litre mark across the country a few months earlier.

Petrol prices had maintained stability since September 5 but oil companies finally raised its pump prices last week.

The rates increased on 21 of the previous 27 days taking up the pump price of petrol by Rs 6.40 per litre.

Crude price has been on a surge rising over a three-year high level of over $86 a barrel as global demand remains firm while OPEC+ continues to move s lowly on increasing production.

Since September 5, wthe price of petrol and diesel in the international market is higher by around $9-10 per barrel as compared to average prices during August.

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