Trafigura, Vitol Said Among Bidders for OMV Turkey Fuel Unit

  • Opet, Socar and private equity firms also said to bid
  • Turkey’s Petrol Ofisi sale could fetch about $1.2 billion

OMV AG, central Europe’s biggest oil and gas company, has got initial bids from Vitol SA and Trafigura Group Pte for its Turkish fuel retailer OMV Petrol Ofisi AS, people with knowledge of the matter said.

Opet Petrolculuk AS, the State Oil Co. of the Azerbaijan Republic and private equity firms are also among the companies that made offers, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the process isn’t public. BP Plc and Saudi Arabian Oil Co., known as Aramco, are also weighing bids, the people said.

A sale could value the business at about $1.2 billion, two of the people said. No final decisions have been made and these companies may not submit successful bids, they said.

OMV shares rose as much as 1.4 percent to its highest level this year in Vienna trading. They gained 0.9 percent to 26.49 euros at 10:15 a.m.

OMV bought Petrol Ofisi for more than $2.5 billion from Dogan Sirketler Grubu Holding AS, a Turkish group with wide-ranging interests in media, energy and real estate, in several stages between 2006 and 2010. The company operates 1,785 petrol stations in Turkey and owns the country’s largest fuel storage and logistics business.

A spokesman for OMV said the process to sell Petrol Ofisi is under way, declining to comment further. Representatives for Opet, Socar, BP, Trafigura and Vitol declined to comment. Representatives for Aramco didn’t immediately respond to requests comment. Opet is owned by Koc Holding AS, Turkey’s biggest business group, and the Ozturk family.

Aramco is looking at downstream opportunities in Turkey and will sign a memorandum of understanding with 18 Turkish companies on Tuesday, Chief Executive Officer Amin Nasser said at the World Energy Congress in Istanbul, without naming the companies.

OMV agreed Monday to sell part of the unit, the Aliaga fuel storage terminal, to a group led by Socar. The company had previously said the entire business has a book value of 1.6 billion euros ($1.8 billion), though it may fetch $1.3 billion or less in the sale, according to Bloomberg Intelligence.

OMV is selling assets and cutting jobs after the slump in oil and gas prices forced it to write down about 3.5 billion euros of assets including its costly North Sea oil investments. It agreed last month to sell a 601 million-euro stake in Gas Connect Austria GmbH to Italian pipeline operator Snam SpA and German insurer Allianz SE.

— With assistance by Andy Hoffman, Matthew Martin, Rakteem Katakey, and Boris Groendahl

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