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

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.


Middle East airlines’ passenger traffic nosedive in April

Updated 06 June 2020

Middle East airlines’ passenger traffic nosedive in April

  • UAE-based Emirates and Etihad Airways will resume some transit flights
  • IATA said the global demand for air services is starting to show recovery

DUBAI: Passenger traffic for Middle East airlines plummeted 97.3 percent in April, versus a less-steeper dive of 50.3 percent a month earlier, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said in a report.
“April was a disaster for aviation as air travel almost entirely stopped. But April may also represent the nadir of the crisis,” Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general and CEO, said in a statement
“Flight numbers are increasing. Countries are beginning to lift mobility restrictions. And business confidence is showing improvement in key markets such as China, Germany, and the US.”
UAE-based Emirates and Etihad Airways will resume some transit flights after the country lifted a suspension on services where passengers stop off in the country to change planes, or for refueling.
Emirates, one of the world’s biggest long-haul airlines, would operate transit flights to 29 destinations in Asia, Europe and North America by June 15 while Etihad would carry transit passengers to 20 cities in Europe, Asia and Australia from June 10.
With aircraft of Middle East airlines grounded, and replicated globally due to the coronavirus pandemic, capacity tumbled 92.3 percent while the load factor decreased to 27.9 percent in April.
But IATA said the global demand for air services is starting to show recovery “after hitting bottom in April.”
There “are positive signs are we start to rebuild the industry from a stand-still. The initial green shoots will take time – possibly years – to mature,” de Juniac added.
Meanwhile, the Abu-Dhabi based carrier will extend salary cuts for employees until September even as other UAE airlines Emirates and Air Arabia confirmed job cuts due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Etihad is continuing to consider all options to protect jobs and preserve cash at this challenging time. Regretfully, Etihad has extended its salary reduction until September 2020, with 25 percent reduction for junior staff and cabin crew, and 50 percent for employees at manager level and above. Housing allowance and a number of benefits continue to be paid,” a statement from Etihad said.