China Sinopec unit to sell 30% stake in Retail arm

China Sinopec unit to sell 30% stake in Retail arm

According to a Hong Kong stock exchange announcement, China's biggest Petrochemical Corp Sinopec has struck a deal with 25 local and foreign investors to sell 30% stake in its retail arm.

The retail unit will be issuing new shares to the group of 25 investors, nearly all of which are from mainland China or Hong Kong, to raise $17.5bn.

Sinopec's retail arm operates more than 3,000 petrol stations across China. It also owns more than 23,000 convenience stores under the East Joy brand, as well as oil-product pipelines and storage facilities.

The biggest investors include China Life Insurance Company; a fund owned by the People's Insurance Company (Group) of China and Tencent Holdings; a fund owned by China International Capital Corporation and Harvest Fund Management, a large Chinese asset manager. Each of these four investor groups agreed to commit 10 billion yuan for a 2.8% stake in Sinopec Marketing.

RRJ Capital Ltd., run by former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS:US) partner Richard Ong, will purchase a 3.6 billion-Yuan stake in the unit, while white-goods maker Haier Electronics Group (1169) Co. agreed to invest 1.2 billion Yuan.

Other investors include funds under the Bank of China, Cinda Asset Management, Citic Securities and China Post Life Insurance, all of which are state-owned financial institutions.

However, the news of deal leaves the investors unimpressed as Sinopec in Shanghai was down 1.06%on Monday morning, slightly outpacing a fall in the benchmark index, while its Hong Kong-listed shares sank more than 6% in the afternoon.

Gordon Kwan, head of oil and gas research at Nomura International Hong Kong Ltd., said, "The retail business is a big cash cow with the potential to increase margins. There is a lot of scope to make the business better".

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