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State-Run ONGC Mulls Sale Of Indian Oil Corp To Fund HPCL Buy

ONGC has about 13.77 per cent stake in IOC, which is worth around Rs 26,450 crore
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State-Run ONGC Mulls Sale Of Indian Oil Corp To Fund HPCL Buy
New Delhi: State-run ONGC today said it may sell its holding in Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) and GAIL to fund the Rs 33,000 crore acquisition of HPCL. The company is debt free and has got shareholders' approval to raise Rs 25,000 crore through borrowing, ONGC Chairman and Managing Director Dinesh K Sarraf told reporters here.

"We have several options to fund the acquisition. On standalone basis we are debt free so we can borrow from the market. Also we have certain investments which can be sold," Sarraf said.

ONGC has about 13.77 per cent stake in IOC, which is worth around Rs 26,450 crore and 4.87 per cent stake in GAIL, which is worth Rs 1,640 crore.

Sarraf said no decision on selling stake has been taken but the option is available for the company.

"We don't know the exact timing when the deal will be closed but we certainly hope it will happen in calender year 2017," he said.

He further said the company is buying HPCL as it is looking to hedge its upstream oil and gas production risks with presence in downstream oil refining and marketing business.

During high oil prices, upstream companies make profit and downstream companies make losses and vice versa is also true.

He said ONGC currently has Rs 10,000 crore of cash. Sarraf, whose tenure is scheduled to end on October 1 further said HPCL will remain a separate listed company even after the acquisition and will function as a subsidiary.

"ONGC board will support the merger of HPCL with its subsidiary MRPL if a proposal so comes," he added. Yesterday, Shashi Shanker was appointed as Chairman and Managing Director of ONGC, till March 2021.

The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) named Shanker, who is currently Director (Technical and Field Services) at ONGC, as CMD till his superannuation, as against an initial one-year term proposed by the Oil Ministry.

ONGC's crude oil production was 22.56 million tons in 2012-13, which dipped to 22.25 million tons in the following year before rising marginally to 22.26 million tons in 2014-15 and 22.36 million tons in 2015-16. It dipped again to 22.25 million tons in 2016-17.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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