Aramco Competes Against Socar for OMV's Turkish Unit

Saudi Arabian Oil Co. and Azerbaijan’s State Oil Co. are competing to buy OMV AG’s fuel-retailing business in Turkey in a deal that may value the asset between $1.2 billion to $1.6 billion, people with knowledge of the matter said.

Aramco, as the Saudi state company is known, and Socar have submitted binding bids for Istanbul-based OMV Petrol Ofisi AS, Turkey’s largest seller of petroleum products, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the deliberations are confidential. The two companies were shortlisted after other bidders including Vitol SA dropped out, the people said.

Saudi Arabia and Azerbaijan have an interest in Petrol Ofisi, OMV Chief Executive Rainer Seele said in a Bloomberg Television interview in London on Tuesday. Socar is in the running for the business, he said. OMV has received two bids for the Turkish fuel retailer and is seeking to conclude the deal this year, Seele said in comments on Feb. 16.

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.

Saudi Aramco and OMV declined to comment, while calls to Socar weren’t immediately returned.

Petro Ofisi operates 1,785 gas stations in Turkey and owns the country’s largest fuel storage and logistics business. Aramco is looking at downstream opportunities in Turkey, Chief Executive Officer Amin Nasser said at the World Energy Congress in Istanbul in October.

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