PIC Is Said to Mull Backing Bid for Chevron's S. Africa Unit

  • Glencore agreed to buy assets alongside minority partners
  • New owners plus PIC are said to consider IPO of oil division

Africa’s biggest fund manager is interested in taking part in the acquisition by Glencore Plc and a group of black South African-owned companies of Chevron Corp.’s assets in the country, according to three people familiar with the matter.

The Public Investment Corp., which manages the pension funds of South African government workers, could buy a portion of the business from Glencore or the minority owners, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the plans aren’t public. The three parties could then raise cash by selling shares in the company on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, the person said.

The PIC manages 1.9 trillion rand ($140 billion) in assets and owns stakes in the majority of South African listed companies. The Chevron unit owns a 100,000 barrel-a-day refinery in Cape Town and more than 800 gas stations in the country and neighboring Botswana.

Chevron originally agreed to sell its 75 percent shareholding in the southern African business to China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. for $900 million. However, the deal stalled after black-owned minority partners including African Legend Investments exercised a preemptive right on the stake. They brought in Glencore as an alternative buyer, and the Swiss trader agreed to the $973 million deal on Oct. 6.

A successful bid led by black investors aligns with the government’s aim to boost black participation in the economy that is dominated by white and foreign-owned businesses 23-years after apartheid.

Proposal Made

Glencore is interested in selling down the stake to reduce the size of its financial commitment, a person familiar with the matter said last week. The company intends to limit net capital expenditure across its oil business to less than $500 million over the next 12 months, it has said.

“The Public Investment Corporation has been approached with a proposal to invest in Chevron, but no investment decision has been made,” it said in a statement. The PIC, Africa’s biggest money manager, has been approached by the government to help support struggling South African state companies to ease pressure on the budget.

Glencore and African Legend Investments declined to comment. Chevron and China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. didn’t immediately respond to emailed questions.

— With assistance by Sam Mkokeli

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