OMV selling Turkish Petrol Ofisi to weather low oil prices

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Baku, February 13, AZERTAC

Austria’s OMV AG is selling its Turkish Petrol Ofisi unit as central Europe’s biggest energy company raises cash to prepare for an extended period of low oil prices, according to Bloomberg.

OMV is selecting advisers to sell as much as 100 percent of the unit, the Vienna-based company said Friday in a statement. Petrol Ofisi operates 1,785 petrol stations in Turkey and owns the country’s largest fuel storage and logistics business.

“OMV mostly lives off integrated business, where upstream and downstream activities are closely connected through a refinery,” OMV spokesman Robert Lechner said by telephone. “We never reached this position in Turkey.”

With a hodgepodge of oil and natural gas fields from the North Sea to Pakistan and Romania, along with refineries in Austria, Germany and Romania, OMV has been trying to streamline its strategy. Chief Executive Officer Rainer Seele wants to strengthen the company’s 48-year-old ties to Gazprom in order to tap into cheaper Russian production. OMV plans to lower spending by as much as 15 percent next year, is weighing staff cuts and looking for more cash in order to withstand lower oil prices.

OMV shares rose as much as 81 cents, or 3.8 percent, to 22.27 euros a share and traded at 22.25 euros at 12:40 p.m. in Vienna. The stock has fallen 15 percent this year and 5 percent over the last 12 months giving it a 7.3 billion euro ($8.2 billion) market value.

OMV bought a 54 percent stake in Petrol Ofisi for $1.3 billion in 2010, and subsequently raised its stake to 96 percent. Istanbul-based Petrol Ofisi was delisted in 2014.

OMV also has plans to sell a minority stake in its gas pipeline operator, Gas Connect Austria, as well as to swap assets with Gazprom for a stake in Russia’s Achimov oil field.

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