MUMBAI: Billionaire brothers Shashi and Ravi Ruia are likely to end up owning less than 10% of their flagship Essar Oil refinery after selling a controlling stake to Russian energy giant Rosneft PJSC and a smaller one to global commodities trader Trafigura Group Pte, four sources with direct knowledge of the matter said.
While Rosneft will acquire a 49% stake from the Ruia family, Trafigura will buy 24% of the company at an equity valuation of around $6 billion in a deal that has been in the works for over a year. Essar Oil also has $4.5 billion of debt. Another financial investor is likely to come on board for a 15-20% stake, eventually leaving the Essar group promoters owning just about 5-8% or even less, as per the sources mentioned above.
The identity of the third investor could not be independently verified but sources said it is likely to be a sanctions-compliant fund.
The plan is to make a formal announcement this weekend at the Goa BRICS summit that will be attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin after the Rosneft board —scheduled to meet later Thursday evening or Friday early morning in Moscow — ratifies the deal. Rosneft’s chairman of the management board, Igor Sechin, is also slated to be in Goa along with Putin’s delegation. “There are still some last-minute issues that need ironing out like the quantum of investment by the third investor and the board approvals,” said an official privy to the ongoing discussions on condition of anonymity. “Efforts are on to make a grand announcement during the BRICS meet this weekend.”
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