CNOOC may delay public offering to early 2001

CNOOC Co. Ltd., a unit of China National Offshore Oil Corp., appears likely to postpone its initial public offering in the global equity markets until early next year. Observers say the delay is to avoid clashing with IPO plans by China Petroleum & Chemical Corp., or Sinopec Corp., the IPO vehicle of China Petrochemical Corp.


BEIJING�CNOOC Co. Ltd., a unit of China National Offshore Oil Corp., appears likely to postpone its initial public offering in the global equity markets until early next year. Observers say the delay is to avoid clashing with IPO plans by China Petroleum & Chemical Corp., or Sinopec Corp., the IPO vehicle of China Petrochemical Corp.

Sinopec filed an application with the US Securities and Exchange Commission in mid-June to launch its IPO on the New York Stock Exchange in the third quarter this year, a time frame CNOOC was also considering for its second IPO attempt.

CNOOC, which currently limits its business to offshore oil exploration and production, will defer to Sinopec, China's second largest oil company, which owns both upstream and downstream assets.

Observers say Sinopec and CNOOC's competition for international funds at the same time might not have served China's national interests and was likely to cause problems for both companies in a crowded market.

CNOOC withdrew its first $1 billion IPO attempt in October 1999 due to what it called adverse market conditions. In its second attempt, CNOOC is aiming to raise up to $2 billion.

Sinopec will also soon file registrations in Hong Kong and London, looking to raise up to $4 billion.

In addition to a public offering, CNOOC is also exploring other fund raising options. In April, the company placed shares worth $210 million with American International Assurance Co. Ltd., AIG Asian Infrastructure Fund II, and GIC Special Investment Pte. Ltd.

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