Imperial’s sale seen next week; ONGC in fray

Imperial’s sale seen next week; ONGC in fray

New Delhi: The sale of Russia-focused Imperial Energy Corp. is likely to be announced next week, a government official said on Friday, confirming that Oil and Natural Gas Corp. Ltd (ONGC) is in the race to buy the firm.

“We are waiting for it. We have submitted the bid. Our bid is very will take two-three days, maybe next week you will hear something," the official, who did not want to be identified, told reporters.

He did not say how much the bid was, but the Business Standard had reported on Thursday the state-run ONGC had submitted an initial bid of £12.90 (Rs1,049) per share, or about $2.96 billion (Rs12,846 crore), quoting unidentified investment banking people.

The newspaper had said the oil giant could raise the bid to about $3.5 billion if competition intensified.

ONGC chairman R.S. Sharma had declined to comment on the report.

Russian authorities may support the Indian bid, the government official said.

Besides ONGC, China’s Sinopec Group and Korea National Oil Corp. have also expressed interest in Imperial.

An investment banker not directly involved in the bidding for Imperial said on Thursday that he believed ONGC was the most likely winner of Imperial Energy.

“What we’ve heard in the market is that Sinopec looked at it, but they didn’t really go through with it in any serious form," the banker said.