Sinopec Sells Retail Unit Stake for $17.5b

Sinopec Sells Retail Unit Stake for $17.5bSinopec Sells Retail Unit Stake for $17.5b

China Petroleum & Chemical Corp., Asia’s top refiner, agreed to sell a 29.99 percent stake in its retail business for 107 billion yuan ($17.5 billion) to a group of investors including China Life Insurance Co.

Sinopec said the unit will sell shares to 25 investors including Fosun International Ltd. (656), the investment company run by billionaire Guo Guangchang. Gas supplier ENN Energy Holdings Ltd. (2688) and white-goods maker Haier Electronics Group Co. will also buy stakes, Sinopec said in a Shanghai stock exchange filing Sunday, Bloomberg reported.

The deal comes amid a push by the Chinese government to restructure state-run companies and allow markets greater sway in resource allocation. The Sinopec retail business runs the country’s biggest network of fuel stations, with more than 30,000 locations, as well as 23,000 convenience stores.

RRJ Capital Ltd., run by former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. partner Richard Ong, will also invest in the unit, according to the filing.

Sinopec’s fuel-station business is a “huge gold mine” whose full potential “hasn’t been tapped,” said Sinopec Chairman Fu Chengyu.

Shares of Sinopec have risen 25 percent in Hong Kong trading since the start of the year, outpacing a 5.5 percent gain in the benchmark Hang Seng Index.