Abu Dhabi's IPIC raises stake in CEPSA

Eric Watkins
OGJ Oil Diplomacy Editor

LOS ANGELES, Apr. 3 -- Abu Dhabi's state-owned investment firm International Petroleum Investment Co. (IPIC) will pay €3.3 billion ($4.4 billion) to increase its share in Cia. Espanola de Petroleos SA (Cepsa).

IPIC will buy a 32.5% stake in CEPSA from Spanish bank Santander and purchase an additional 5% stake from Spanish power firm Union Fenosa.

The purchases take IPIC's total ownership in CEPSA to 47%, making it the second-largest shareholder after Total SA which owns 48.8%. The remaining shares are held by the public.

IPIC Managing Director Khadem Al-Qubaisi said he plans to create a vertically integrated oil enterprise by bringing together IPIC's investments in refineries and chemical plants, a tanker partnership with Restis, and a crude oil pipeline and oil loading terminal under development in Fujairah.

In March, IPIC completed its $1.1-billion purchase of Papua New Guinea's equity in Oil Search, buying 5-year exchangeable bonds issued by the PNG government, which upon conversion give IPIC a 17.6% stake in Oil Search, which has a 34% interest in the PNG LNG Project.

Earlier in March, IPIC also launched a $500 million takeover of Nova Chemicals Corp. in what was described as "a friendly deal to rescue the plastics maker from a financial crisis due to its high debt."

Contact Eric Watkins at hippalus@yahoo.com.

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