Tyumen Oil surprise bidder for IBP stake

Vol 5, PW 16 (26 Sep 01) Midstream & Downstream

Russian oil company Tyumen Oil is the new, hitherto unknown, bidder for the government's 33.59% stake and management control of state-owned petrol and diesel retailer IBP Petroleum.

Petrowatch learns Tyumen Oil is bidding in an alliance with Channel Islands-registered Sun Securities. IBP sources tell us Caltex and India's Hinduja Group company Gulf Oil picked up the confidentiality information memorandum but did not visit the dataroom in Calcutta, while neither Petronas (Malaysia) nor BHP Petroleum (Australia) or Videocon (India) picked up the confidentiality information memorandum, much less visit the dataroom.

This leaves 12 companies in the race (see below). Our IBP source updates us on the latest: Due diligence process completed in first week of August Bid papers being finalised ahead of submission to 'Inter-ministerial Group' overseeing the process.

Financial bids tentatively set to be called in November - much behind earlier schedule of August We also learn India's union cabinet has still not decided whether to retain or lower the minimum investment criteria of Rs2,000cr (approx: $434m) as a pre-requisite to bidding. Oil secretary Vijayendra Kaul confirms to this report that the cabinet will shortly examine a note seeking modification of the eligibility criteria for private companies that want to enter the domestic retail-marketing sector after dismantling of the 'administered pricing mechanism'.

"The details are secret for now," he tells us. "We expect the cabinet to take a decision on this in a month and a half." Last month IBP trimmed its workforce by 600 to 2,200 employees.

"Our target was to trim the workforce by 500 employees," reveals a company source. Companies still in the race for IBP: Petrom (Romania) with Essar (India) Shell Hindustan Petroleum Bharat Petroleum Indian Oil Nagarjuna Oil Kuwait Petroleum BP Amoco Reliance Petroleum TotalFinaElf Sun Securities and Tyumen Oil Reliance Industries