M&A: Sun Pharma looking for oil assets abroad

Vol 18, PW 14 (12 Mar 15) People & Policy

He’s already India’s wealthiest man but Sun Pharma boss Dilip Shanghvi wants to get even richer by snapping up stakes at overseas oil and gas assets, possibly in Canada, Africa, Russia or Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries.

An industry source believes Shangvi wants to capitalise on the fact that many companies are eager to 'farm-out' stakes in oil and gas blocks because of the sharp fall in oil prices over the past eight months. “Shangvi is a sharp businessman who built his pharmaceuticals empire by taking timely decisions,” says an industry source.

“He thinks this is the right time to move into oil and gas.” A senior Sun source confirms the development saying: “Yes we’re looking for stakes in foreign countries.

” However he declined to confirm which assets it is considering or where. “Right now nothing further can be said,” he adds.

What is clear is that Sun wants a majority stake as operator at any blocks it finalises. “Money is no problem for Sun,” we hear.

“It’s sitting on a huge cash pile.” Sun oil and gas technical group based in Mumbai last year considered acquiring Eni’s 47.18% in HOEC but later dropped the idea, saying the assets were “useless.

” Sun is also in 'farm-in' talks with Ahmedabad-based Sintex, which has three onland Cambay basin NELP-VIII blocks.

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