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Carlyle-Vitol Venture to Buy Bayernoil Refinery Stake

Carlyle Group LP and Vitol Group agreed to buy a 45 percent stake in Germany’s Bayernoil refinery from OMV AG as they expand oil-processing, distribution and storage operations in northwestern Europe.

Carlyle and Vitol will acquire the plant as part of an investment in Varo Energy BV, OMV said today in a statement on its website, without disclosing terms. The purchase, confirmed by the buyers, also includes a bitumen plant in Grossmehring.

OMV has looked to sell its Bayernoil stake since hiring Deutsche Bank AG to handle a divestment program in January 2012. The Austrian company is focusing on exploration and production as Europe’s refining industry struggles to maintain profits amid stagnant demand. For Carlyle and Vitol, they gain access to a 207,000-barrel-a-day plant as well as pipe and storage assets.

“The sale decreases OMV’s exposure to the downstream segment where there is higher volatility,” Oleg Galbur, a Vienna-based analyst at Raiffeisenbank Centrobank AG, said today by phone. The sale puts OMV’s restructuring program “ahead of schedule,” according to Galbur, who advises holding the stock.

OMV rose as much as 2.9 percent in Vienna trading, the biggest gain in six weeks. The stock was up 0.9 percent at 33.82 euros as of 12:49 p.m. local time, valuing the Vienna-based company at 11.1 billion euros ($15.2 billion).

Carlyle, a Washington-based private-equity company, and oil trader Vitol will each hold 50 percent of Varo Energy, which will expand to comprise refining, wholesale distribution and storage businesses, a statement from the buyers shows.

“They’re betting on a sector that is currently under pressure, that has prices which are low,” Galbur said. He estimated the probable transaction value at 400 million euros to 600 million euros, including inventory. The companies expect the deal to close next year.

OMV bought Bayernoil and other German assets from BP Plc in 2003 for 377 million euros. The Austrian company is seeking to raise 1 billion euros through divestments by the end of next year.

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