Oman Considers Sale of $3B Chemicals Unit

Oman Considers Sale of $3B Chemicals Unit
Oman's state energy company OQ SAOC is weighing a sale of its German chemicals business as the Persian Gulf sultanate seeks ways to steady its finances, according to people familiar with the matter.

(Bloomberg) -- Oman’s state energy company OQ SAOC is weighing a sale of its German chemicals business as the Persian Gulf sultanate seeks ways to steady its finances, according to people familiar with the matter.

The Muscat-based group is speaking with potential advisers as it explores options for OQ Chemicals, formerly known as Oxea, the people said, asking not to be identified discussing confidential information. The business could be valued at about $3 billion in any sale, the people said.  

Deliberations are ongoing, and there’s no certainty they’ll result in a sale, according to the people. A spokesperson for OQ Chemicals directed queries to its parent company. A representative for OQ didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Under Sultan Haitham Bin Tariq, who came to power last year, Oman has been seeking to use its energy assets to raise money and lower a budget deficit that soared as the Covid-19 pandemic spread, battering oil prices and tourism.

It’s been studying the possible sale of a stake in integrated energy company OQ or one of its subsidiaries, people familiar with the matter said in April. OQ was formed through the merger of Oman Oil Co. with several companies including state-owned Oman Gas Co., refining group Orpic and Oxea.

Oman agreed to buy Oxea from private equity firm Advent International in 2013 for about 1.8 billion euros ($2.1 billion), as it sought to tap into increasing demand for so-called oxo-based chemicals, Bloomberg News reported at the time. The products are used in everything from coatings and cosmetics, to pharmaceuticals and flavorings. 

Based in Monheim am Rhein, Germany, OQ Chemicals employs more than 1,400 people across its home market, as well as in China, the Netherlands and the U.S., according to its website. 

© 2021 Bloomberg L.P.


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