Aramco in talks to buy stake in refining business of India’s Reliance

The value Reliance Industries’ refining and petrochemicals businesses is said to be at around $55 billion to $60 billion. (File/AFP)
Updated 18 April 2019
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Aramco in talks to buy stake in refining business of India’s Reliance

  • The Times of India reported earlier that Aramco was in talks to buy up to a 25 percent stake
  • Aramco did not immediately respond to a request for comment

DUBAI/NEW DELHI: State oil giant Saudi Aramco, the world’s biggest oil producer, is in talks to buy a minority stake in the refining and petrochemicals businesses of India’s Reliance Industries Ltd, sources familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.
The Times of India reported earlier that Aramco was in talks to buy a stake of up to 25 percent, which could be worth around $10-15 billion, valuing the Indian company’s refining and petrochemicals businesses at some $55-60 billion.
Aramco’s discussions with Reliance were “serious,” one source said. Another source said talks with Reliance were so far for a 25 percent stake.
“Reliance has offered an integrated deal — a stake in existing refineries and the planned 600,000 barrels per day (Jamnagar) refinery, along with petrochemical business,” the second source said.
Aramco’s chief executive, Amin Nasser, said in February that the Saudi company was in talks on possible investments in Indian projects involving firms that included Reliance.
Aramco and Reliance declined to comment on Wednesday.
Reliance, controlled by Asia’s richest man, Mukesh Ambani, is India’s biggest refining and petrochemicals company and runs a 1.4 million barrels per day refining complex at Jamnagar in western India. It plans to expand capacity to 2 million bpd by 2030, according to plans shared with the Indian government.
Aramco is expanding its refining and petrochemical business globally by signing new deals and boosting the capacity of its existing plants.
Last year, Aramco and the United Arab Emirates’ national oil company ADNOC teamed up with state-run Indian refiners in a plan to build a 1.2 million bpd refinery and petrochemical project in Maharashtra state.
However, the planned refinery faces delays, as thousands of farmers have refused to surrender land for it and the Maharashtra government is looking to move the plant’s location.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman visited India in February and said then that he expected investment opportunities worth more than $100 billion there over the next two years.
Ambani has traveled to Saudi Arabia at least twice since December, discussing joint investment among other issues with Aramco’s chief executive, Amin Nasser.


Samsung shares rise as Huawei struggles

Updated 32 min 14 sec ago
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Samsung shares rise as Huawei struggles

  • Huawei has been rocked with promblems in the past weeks, including major revelations from tech giants
  • Samsung is the world’s biggest smartphone maker which has been facing increasing competition from its Chinese rival

SEOUL: Shares in Samsung Electronics climbed nearly three percent Tuesday on the back of its chief rival Huawei’s mounting problems, including a decision by Google to sever ties with the Chinese mobile phone maker.
It is the latest in the months-long saga between Huawei and the United States analysts warn could see Chinese semiconductor demand fall, threatening a nascent Asian recovery in the industry.
US Internet giant Google, whose Android mobile operating system powers most of the world’s smartphones, said this week it is cutting ties with Huawei to comply with an executive order issued by President Donald Trump.
The move could have dramatic implications for Huawei smartphone users, as the firm will no longer have access to Google’s proprietary services — which include the Gmail and Google Maps apps.
Investors bet Huawei’s loss could benefit Samsung, the world’s biggest smartphone maker which has been facing increasing competition from its Chinese rival, sending its shares up 2.7 percent at closing on Tuesday.
Analysts say the US ban will damage Huawei’s ability to sell phones outside China, offering Samsung a chance to consolidate its position at the top of the global market.
“If you are in Europe or China and couldn’t use Google map or any Android services with a Huawei smartphone, would you buy one?” MS Hwang, an analyst at Samsung Securities, told Bloomberg News, adding: “Wouldn’t you buy a Samsung smartphone instead?“
Samsung accounted for 23.1 percent of global smartphone sales in the first quarter of this year, according to industry tracker International Data Corporation, while Huawei had 19.0 percent.
But Huawei’s troubles may be a double-edged sword for Samsung — also the world’s biggest chipmaker — if it leads to a plunge in demand for semiconductors.
China dominates purchases from Asian chip makers and bought 51 percent of their shipments in 2017, Bloomberg reported citing a Citigroup analysis. Including Hong Kong, it accounted for 69 percent of South Korea’s chip production.
“In our view, China’s restocking efforts for electronic goods will likely weaken and be delayed if the tensions and the ban stay longer, which likely will hurt overall demand,” the report said.
Last week, Trump declared a “national emergency” empowering him to blacklist companies seen as “an unacceptable risk to the national security of the United States” — a move analysts said was clearly aimed at Huawei.
The US Commerce Department announced a ban on American companies selling or transferring US technology to Huawei, with a 90-day reprieve by allowing temporary licenses.