LONDON Glencore (GLEN.L) is in talks with Spanish refiner Cepsa on a merger of oil operations that would be a first major step towards transforming the commodity trader's energy division into a vertically integrated oil company, industry sources said.
A dozen trading, industry and banking sources said Glencore's tie-up with Cepsa, which has three refineries in Spain and production assets in Algeria, was being discussed although they gave conflicting accounts of the deal's details.
Several sources said Glencore, the world's largest commodities trader, may acquire a large chunk in Cepsa, which is owned by Abu Dhabi's fund IPIC. The latter is also a major shareholder in Glencore following the trader's initial public offering earlier this year.
"It is all about Glencore's ambitions of becoming a major vertically integrated company," one trader said. Glencore, Cepsa and IPIC all declined to comment.
(Reporting by Emma Farge, Jessica Donati, Ikuko Kurahone, Dmitry Zhdannikov, Martin Roberts, Clara Ferreira-Marques, Victoria Howley, Stanley Carvalho, Christopher Johnson; Editing by Anthony Barker)