HPCL may acquire MRPL in cash, share-swap deal

PTI New Delhi | Updated on January 24, 2018 Published on January 22, 2018

For six consecutive quarterly share holding pattern filings to the stock exchange since then including the latest for the quarter ended June, HPCL has listed ONGC as a public share holder.

"If MRPL comes to HPCL, we can bring lot of synergy,'' says CMD Mukesh Kumar Surana

HPCL may acquire Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd (MRPL) in a cash and share-swap deal to become India’s third-largest oil refiner. Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC), India’s biggest oil and gas producer, had last week announced the acquisition of HPCL for Rs 36,915 crore. After this takeover, ONGC has two refining subsidiaries - HPCL and MRPL.

“If MRPL comes to HPCL, we can bring lot of synergy,” HPCL Chairman and Managing Director Mukesh Kumar Surana told PTI.

For one, HPCL (Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd) sells more petroleum products than it produces and bringing MRPL’s 15-million-tonne a year refinery under the fold would help bridge the shortfall. Also, there can be synergies in crude oil procurement as well as in optimising refinery set-up, he said.

ONGC plans to maintain HPCL as an independent listed company under whom all its downstream units can be consolidated. “MRPL is not a new company for us. It was in fact an HPCL company before ONGC had in 2003 acquired joint venture parter A V Birla Group. We will hold close to 17 per cent stake in MRPL and so we know the company well,” he said.

The merger “may be a good thing to do in the interest of the (ONGC) group,” he said. Yesterday, ONGC Chairman and Managing Director Shashi Shanker had said his company will also consider merging MRPL with HPCL at a later date.The boards of the two companies have to consider the proposal and take a decision on it, he said.

While ONGC holds 71.63 per cent stake in MRPL, HPCL has 16.96 per cent. Surana said discussions on the merger have not started but they should start soon. The merger can be through “share-swap plus cash'', he said.

HPCL can acquire MRPL either by buying out ONGC’s shares, which at today’s trading price is worth just over Rs 16,000 crore. The other option is share-swap, wherein ONGC will get more shares in HPCL in lieu of it giving up its control in MRPL. A third option and more preferable is a combination of the two, the official said.

After ONGC completed the acquisition of the government’s 51.11 per cent stake, HPCL will become a subsidiary. The transaction allows the government to monetise its HPCL ownership without losing ultimate control of the company. “We will continue to remain a central public sector enterprise (CPSE),” Surana said.

HPCL will add 23.8 million tonne of annual oil refining capacity to ONGC’s portfolio. This together with the 15-mt refinery of MRPL will create India’s second-biggest state-owned oil refiner after Indian Oil Corp (IOC). Overall, it will become the third biggest refiner behind IOC and Reliance Industries. MRPL will be the third refinery of HPCL, which already has units at Mumbai and Visakhapatnam.

Published on January 22, 2018
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