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IPIC to choose bidders for Hyundai stake

Abu Dhabi, August 13, 2007

Abu Dhabi's International Petroleum Investment Co (IPIC), top shareholder of South Korea's Hyundai Oilbank Corp, will pick preferred bidders for a 35 percent stake in the refiner, sources close to the deal said.

IPIC had picked Merrill Lynch to manage the deal, and the brokerage will narrow down the candidates this week, they said.

The sources identified the bidders as Hyundai Heavy Industries Co., the second-largest shareholder of Hyundai Oilbank with 19.8 percent; GS Caltex Corp., the country's second-largest refiner; and Lotte Group, which has petrochemical businesses such as Honam Petrochemical.

"The market views this opportunity as the last chance to enter the refinery business in Korea," said a banking source.

"And for this reason, GS Caltex's CEO has recently shown interest in the deal, to counter stiff competition from S-Oil and Hanjin, and SK Energy and SK Incheon," the source said.

SK Energy, the country's largest refiner, bought SK Incheon last year, while S-Oil Corp. agreed to sell a 28.4 percent stake to Hanjin Group in March.

GS Caltex is a 50-50 joint venture between GS Holdings and US major Chevron Corp.

IPIC announced earlier this year that it planned to sell half of its 70 percent stake in South Korea's fourth-largest oil refiner this summer.

IPIC has been a shareholder in unlisted Hyundai Oilbank since 1999. In February 2006, IPIC raised its stake to 70 percent from 50 percent, with South Korea's Hyundai Group owning the rest.

IPIC invests in oil-related projects for the Abu Dhabi government.  -Reuters    

Tags: IPIC | petroleum | Hyundai Oilbank |

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