Oil India public offer on hold for now

January 15th, 2009 - 2:19 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Jan 15 (IANS) Oil India Ltd (OIL), a state-owned upstream oil company, Thursday said it has received the market regulator’s approval for its proposed public issue, but that the timing of the offer would depend on market conditions. “We received SEBI’s (Securities Exchange Board of India) approval for the initial public offer (IPO) last month. We are ready, but it depends on market conditions,” OIL chairman and managing director N.M. Borah told reporters on the sidelines of Petrotech 2009 conference on oil and gas here.

Borah said the company was looking at an IPO not as much as to raise funds from the primary market, as for ensuring enhanced visibility and better corporate governance.

OIL had planned to tap the market last November, but has since deferred it. The government has 98.13 percent holding in OIL.

Dwelling on the company’s other plans, Borah said OIL was interested in securing overseas exploration and production (E and P)) assets and acquiring firms abroad.

“We are not just looking for E and P assets abroad, but also at acquiring medium-sized companies which have producing assets,” he said, adding: “Whenever companies have liquidity problems, they are vulnerable to acquisition. Currently, we are looking at participating interest with Metco for two blocks in Yemen.”

Metco (Middle East Trading Co) has assets in Libya and Gabon, apart from participating interests in blocks in Yemen, Iran, Nigeria and Egypt.

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