Arab firms may join race for Tupras refiner

RIYADH (Reuters) – A group of Saudi and Kuwaiti firms are holding talks with a view to joining the bidding for a stake in Turkish state refiner Tupras, BMG Financial Advisors Group said yesterday. «We are talking to three leading Turkish groups right now… and hope to have reached an agreement by Monday,» Basil Al Ghalayini, CEO of the Saudi-based advisory firm said. «What we are aiming for is 12.5-13 percent of the total value of Tupras, or 20 percent of the stake on offer,» he told Reuters. A 51 percent stake in Tupras is slated for sale. Ghalayini said the Gulf investors included three groups from Saudi Arabia and one from Kuwait. He said talks were being held with Turkish firms Cukurova, Petrol Ofisi and OYAK. He declined to name the Gulf Arab companies. Monday is the deadline for firms to inform the Privatization Administration (OIB) about the make-up of the consortiums in which they will participate in the tender. The deadline for submitting price bids is September 2. The head of the OIB said last month that Turkey had received 13 pre-qualification bids for Tupras. «Tupras has a high geopolitical significance since the winning consortium will have the opportunity to access Caspian oil, as well as heading for the European Market,» Ghalayini was earlier quoted by Saudi newspaper Arab News as saying. BMG’s business includes cooperating with large and medium-size businesses on mergers and acquisitions.