Thursday, November 09, 2006

Reliance bids for BP plant in Belgium

Reliance Industries is believed to have put in a $2 billion bid for the
refinery and petrochemicals facility of British Petroleum (BP) in Belgium.

Sources familiar with the development said Reliance, which had been in talks
with BP for the Belgium unit for over a year, had recently put in a formal
proposal. The deal might be announced anytime, they added. However, there
was no official confirmation on this from Reliance. When contacted, a
Reliance spokesperson declined to comment.

The sources said Reliance Chairman Mukesh Ambani would discuss
the proposed acquisition of the unit with the Belgian Prime Minister Guy
Verhofstadt who is currently in India on a six-day tour.

This deal will mark the first major acquisition of Reliance Industries,
which generates surplus cash of over Rs 17,000 crore a year, in the
exploration sector. Reliance's networth stands at Rs 54,000 crore.

The Reliance board will meet tomorrow to consider raising $2 billion (nearly
Rs 9,000 crore) to fund investment in oil and gas exploration and production
business. The instrument for the fund raising could be foreign currency
convertible bonds.

Ambani, in a recent media interview, had said the company was eyeing oil
firms in the North Sea and also aimed at acquiring oil drilling and
engineering firm in Africa, South America, the Middle East and India.

He said British companies working in the North Sea would become soft target
with dwindling reserves in the region.
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