EXCLUSIVE-Trafigura plans to exit Rosneft Indian refining JV -sources

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NEW DELHI/SINGAPORE, Nov 16 (Businesshala) – Trafigura is preparing to sell its 24.5% indirect stake in an Indian oil refining joint venture with Russia’s Rosneft to an Italian conglomerate, a letter seen by Businesshala and commodities trading firm Viewed by people you know. Plans said.

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Trafigura holds a stake in Naira Energy, India’s third largest refinery, a port and network of over 6,000 fuel stations across India, indirectly through a 49.84% stake in Singapore-based Tendrill Ventures Pte Ltd.

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Without elaborating on what prompted Trafigura to sell, people familiar with the matter said it plans to sell the Naira stake to Italy’s Genera Group Holding S.p.A.

“We have been informed that Trafigura proposes to sell its stake in Tendrill to a third party; being Genera Group Holding SPA,” Naira chief executive Alois Virag wrote a letter to its lenders earlier this month .

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Trafigura declined to comment. Genera did not respond to Businesshala emails and messages seeking comment. Naira said she could not comment on the actions of its shareholders.

It is not clear how much Trafigura’s stake is in Naira, formerly known as Essar Oil.

Naira, which owns a 400,000 barrel-per-day (bpd) Vadinar refinery plant in the western Indian state of Gujarat, changed hands in 2017 for about $13 billion, so Trafigura’s stake would have been worth more than $3 billion then.

Tendrill’s second owner is the Russian investment group United Capital Partners (UCP), which also holds 49.84%.

Cyprus-registered Kesani, a wholly owned subsidiary of Tendrill, holds a 49.13% stake in Naira Energy. Rosneft also holds a 49.13% stake in the Singapore unit and the rest are public shareholders.

When Kesani and Rosneft bought the Naira stake in 2017, the sale was structured to prevent Rosneft from acquiring a controlling stake and not violate US sanctions on the Russian oil major.

“As a result of the proposed transfer, Trafigura will close an indirect shareholding in Kesani and therefore also in the borrower (Naira),” Virag says in the letter seen by Businesshala.

Post the transfer, Genera will hold a 24.5% stake in Naira through Tendril and Kesani, the letter said.

Tendrill, which shares its official address with Trafigura in Singapore, could not be reached by Businesshala for comment.

Naira Energy has written to its local and global lenders including State Bank of India, Punjab National Bank, HDFC Bank, Axis Bank, Canara Bank, ICICI Bank, Citibank and Barclays to request no-objection certificates.

Sources said Genera has meanwhile approached the Competition Commission of India (CCI) seeking permission to acquire Trafigura’s stake in Naira.

Indian Banks and CCI did not respond to requests for comment. Citibank and Barclays declined to comment. (Additional reporting by Julia Payne in London and Stephen Jukes and Alyssa Anzolin in Milan; Editing by Simon Webb and Alexander Smith)

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