• Universal Terminal may be valued at $3 billion including debt
  • Oil storage firm backed by PetroChina postponed IPO in 2014

A fund run by Macquarie Group Ltd. is nearing an agreement to buy more than 40 percent of Singapore oil-storage provider Universal Terminal Pte, people with knowledge of the matter said.

The deal could value Universal Terminal, which is part-owned by China’s biggest energy producer PetroChina Co., at about $3 billion including debt, according to the people. An agreement may be signed as soon as next week, one of the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is private.

Universal Terminal’s controlling shareholder began approaching potential buyers about the sale of a minority stake in the company after the petroleum terminal operator postponed a S$1 billion ($712 million) initial public offering last December, people with knowledge of the matter said previously. Macquarie is expanding in areas such as fuel storage, aircraft leasing, and fund management to reduce reliance on investment banking and find more stable revenue sources. 

Macquarie would buy existing shares of Universal Terminal from Singapore oil trader Hin Leong Trading Pte, which owns 65 percent of the company, and PetroChina, which owns the remainder, according to one of the people. Final terms of a deal are being negotiated, and the talks could still fall apart, the people said. 

Hin Leong Executive Director Evan Lim didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment, while representatives for Macquarie, PetroChina and Universal Terminal declined to comment.

A Macquarie infrastructure fund last year took full control of a U.S. bulk liquid terminals operation for $1 billion in cash and stock. The bank spent an undisclosed sum in 2013 for 45 percent of Singapore’s Helios Terminal Corp., which runs 18 oil storage tanks on Singapore’s Jurong Island.

Universal Terminal started operations on Jurong Island in 2008. The company’s facilities, which include 78 storage tanks and 15 jetties, offer 2.33 million cubic meters of storage capacity, according to its website.

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