The government on Wednesday scrapped the privatisation of SAIL’s Bhadravathi steel plant due to insufficient bidder interest.

The Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) in a statement said the strategic sale of SAIL’s Visvesvaraya Iron and Steel Plant (VISP), Bhadravathi in Karnataka, had received multiple EoIs and bidders also conducted due diligence.

“However, due to insufficient bidder interest in proceeding further with the transaction, Government of India, with the approval of Alternative Mechanism (Empowered Group of Ministers) has decided to annul the EoI and thereby terminating the present transaction,” DIPAM said.

The Cabinet had in October 2016 cleared strategic disinvestment of SAIL’s 100 per cent stake in VISP. Following that, the Expression of Interest (EoI) from bidders was invited on July 2019.

This is the second instance when the government withdrew the strategic stake sale offer due to insufficient bidder interest.

In May, the government scrapped plans to sell its 53% stake in BPCL, saying that majority of bidders have expressed their inability to participate in the current privatisation process due to prevailing conditions in the global energy market.

BPCL too had received multiple EoI and at least three bids had come in. However, the privatisation was stalled after two bidders walked out over issues, such as lack of clarity in fuel pricing, with just one bidder left in the fray.

Last month, the DIPAM terminated the sale of its 100% stake in Central Electronics Limited (CEL) and disqualified the successful bidder Nandlal Finance and Leasing Private Ltd for not meeting the eligibility criteria.

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By Dipak

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