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Essar Oil gets stock exchanges go ahead for delisting

Essar Oil has received approvals from National Stock Exchange (NSE) and BSE to delist its shares, company Managing Director & CEO L K Gupta said.

Delisting the company would give promoter Ruia borthers – Shashikant and Ravikant, greater flexibility and less regulatory scrutiny while selling a stake in the refiner.

“NSE and BSE approval have now been received. The promoters will now have to make announcement and reverse book building start,” he told PTI from Mumbai.

The entire process to delist shares may take up to 2 months, he said.

Essar Oil had earlier this year signed a non-binding Term Sheet for sale of up to 49% stake in the company to Russian oil firm Rosneft for an undisclosed amount.

Gupta said the Rosneft deal was conditional upon various factors such as due diligence, determination of the transaction price, execution of definitive transaction documents and receipt of requisite approvals.

He did not give a timeframe for concluding the deal.

Essar Oil’s board had approved the delistng plan a year back but the proposal was put on hold in November, 2014 after the Securities and Exchange Board of Idnia (SEBI) asked for a halt.

The firm’s UK-based parent Essar Energy delisted its shares from the London Stock Exchange in June last year. Essar Energy holds 71.22% in Essar Oil.

Essar Oil will make an offer to buy back 137 million shares or a 27.53 per cent stake held by the public and other non-promoters.

Under SEBI’s new delisting rules, a firm wanting to delist has to ensure that its promoter shareholding reaches at least 90 per cent after acquiring shares from the public, or if at least 25 per cent of the public shareholders tender their shares in a reverse book-building process.

This is Ruia brothers second attempt to delist Essar Oil after their failed attempt in 2007. Essar Energy Holdings Ltd’s January 2007 plan to delist the company in order to gain higher “flexibility in the operations and management of the company” failed due to protest from minority shareholders.

Essar Oil operates a 20 million tons oil refinery at Vadinar in Gujarat. The refinery, the second biggest unit in the country, has a complexity of 11.8, among most complex refineries globally, enabling it to earn higher margins.