Photographer: Jerome Favre/Bloomberg

Sinopec Mulls Hong Kong, Shanghai Retail Unit IPO in 2018

  • China’s oil refining giant considering dual listing option
  • Seeking to raise as much as $10 billion from retail unit IPO

China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. is considering a dual listing for its retail business, which could take place next year, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The world’s biggest oil refiner, known as Sinopec, is mulling a plan to sell shares first in Hong Kong and then in Shanghai, the people said, asking not to be named as the details aren’t public. The dual offering is one option under consideration and no final decision has been made, they said. Bloomberg reported in December that the Beijing-based company asked banks to submit proposals for the IPO to raise as much as $10 billion in Hong Kong.

The board of the retail unit would decide the timing and details of the listing, Chairman Wang Yupu said during the company’s annual earnings briefing Monday, without providing further details. A Sinopec spokesman reiterated Wang’s comments Friday.

The IPO will provide a jolt to market-oriented reforms encouraged by the government of President Xi Jinping, which have stagnated in the past two years, and may widen the investor base outside China. It would also raise funds as the company begins to boost spending for the first time since 2013 and comes under government and shareholder pressure to increase dividends.

Sinopec’s retail operations include about 30,600 fuel stations under its own brand as well as a network of convenience stores. It proposed a listing of the retail business in 2014, when it sold a 29.99 percent stake for 107 billion yuan ($15.5 billion) to a group of investors including China Life Insurance Co. and billionaire Guo Guangchang’s Fosun International Ltd.

Sinopec separately said this week that it was invited by Saudi Arabian Oil Co. to invest in its own IPO, which could be the world’s biggest. The Chinese company may be aiming to start its listing before the offering by the oil exporter known as Saudi Aramco as it may suck up market liquidity, according to Gordon Kwan, head of oil and gas research at Nomura Holdings Inc. in Hong Kong.

— With assistance by Keith Zhai, Heng Xie, Vinicy Chan, and Aibing Guo

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