Friday, February 22, 2008

Star Petroleum To Delay IPO; Esso Thailand IPO On Track

February 19, 2008: 01:13 AM EST

BANGKOK -(Dow Jones)- The initial public offering of Star Petroleum Refining Co., a Thai unit of U.S.-based Chevron Corp. (CVX), is likely to be postponed until the fourth quarter, while the IPO of Esso Thailand remains on track for April, a senior government official said Tuesday.

"The executives of SPRC have informed that it will put off the share offering to the fourth quarter since the process takes time," said Energy Ministry Permanent Secretary Pornchai Rujiprapa.

"However, the ministry has asked the company to rework the IPO plan to speed up the process to have its shares floated around late third quarter or early fourth quarter."

SPRC, 60%-owned by Chevron and 40%-owned by PTT PCL (PTT.TH), had been expected to float its shares around mid-2008. It operates a 150,000 barrel-a-day refinery in the country's eastern seaboard area.

Pornchai said the IPO of oil refiner Esso Thailand, a unit of ExxonMobil Corp. (XOM), will take place in April as planned.

Esso plans to sell at least 25% of its shares in April, and list on the Stock Exchange of Thailand in early May.

After the share sale, ExxonMobil will own 67.5% of the Thai unit from 87.5% currently, the company has said in a filing to the Securities & Exchange Commission.

The Finance Ministry's 12.5% stake in Esso is likely to fall to 7.5%.

Esso has a refining capacity of 177,000 barrels a day and a 13% share of Thailand's refined oil market. It also operates an aromatics plant which annually produces 500,000 tons of paraxylene.

-By Supunnabul Suwannakij, Dow Jones Newswires; 66 2266 0744; tu.suwannakij@ dowjones.com

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