BP sells 11.5% stake in Castrol India for $308 mn

British energy giant BP Plc's wholly owned unit Castrol Ltd on Thursday sold an 11.5% stake in its Indian lubricants subsidiary for about Rs 2,075 crore ($308 million) to investors including Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC.

Castrol Ltd sold about 5.68 crore shares of the Mumbai-listed Castrol India Ltd at an average price of Rs 365 apiece. Castrol India shares fell 3.2% on the BSE to close at Rs 372.85. Castrol Ltd held about 71% of Castrol India before the sale while institutional and public investors owned the remaining.

Castrol Ltd sold the stake to a range of domestic and international investors, BP said in a statement, without disclosing the deal value or the buyers' identity.

Stock-exchange data showed the buyers included GIC, which picked up about 35 lakh shares for Rs 128 crore, and Citigroup Global, which purchased 63 lakh shares for about Rs 230 crore. GIC is one of the most active sovereign funds in India with stakes in several banks, microfinance institutions, real estate developers and e-commerce firms, among others.

BP said that it intends to continue as the majority shareholder of Castrol India and that this transaction will have no impact on staff or customers of Castrol India.

"We will continue to have strategic control of Castrol India and this decision is independent of our upstream investments which we continue to progress," said Sashi Mukundan, BP's country head for India. "We are investing in India and plan to continue to do so."

Castrol India makes and sells automotive, industrial and marine lubricants. For the full year 2015, it posted net sales of Rs 3,298 crore while profit after tax rose 30% to Rs 615 crore. For the first quarter through March 2016, it reported a post-tax profit of Rs 172 crore compared with Rs 146.7 crore a year earlier. Revenue grew to Rs 874.4 crore from Rs 842.7 crore.

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