IOC seeks 50:50 partnership in RIL's petrol pumps

Indian Oil CorporationState-run Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) has proposed a 50:50 partnership to operate 1432 closed petrol pumps of Reliance Industries (RIL), having 15 per cent fuel market share by the closing date of March 2008.

Other firms including Royal Dutch Shell, Bharat Petroleum Corporation (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation (HPCL) have also shown interest in partnership with Reliance.

The private firm suffered huge losses in early 2008 due to difference in retail price of petrol and diesel sold by public sector oil companies and other private firms leading to closure of RIL's petrol pumps.

Meanwhile, a senior official of IOC said, "We would not like to comment." He, however, said that company has already got approval from its board and final decision would be taken after weighing all pro and cons.

RIL will set up a data room to access financial proposals of interested parties and final decision would be taken by firm's chairman, Mukesh Ambani.

Sources informed that IOC, having 17600 petrol pumps, wants equal partnership as it is not interested in portfolio investment while RIL wants 26, 50 and 74 per cent equity stake from retailers in the proposed joint venture.