India’s finance ministry said Wednesday it had extended the deadline for submission of bids for the sale of its stake in oil refiner Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd to Sept. 30, allowing more time for interested parties.
It was extended “in view of further requests from the interested bidders and the prevailing situation arising out of COVID-19,” the ministry said in a statement, marking the second such extension since May.
India has the world’s third-highest caseload of coronavirus infections after the United States and Brazil, and a strict lockdown imposed in March has been eased in parts in recent weeks but economic activity is far from a full restart.
The government’s move to sell its 52.98% stake in Bharat Petroleum, the country’s second-biggest oil refiner, could help it bridge its widening fiscal gap. Oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan said last November that international energy firms were set to take part in the bidding process.