Russia's UCP says plans to keep Essar Oil stake for 3-5 years

MOSCOW, Oct 18 (Reuters) - Russian private investment group United Capital Partners (UCP), which agreed to buy a stake in India’s Essar Oil, plans to keep a stake in the company for the next 3-5 years, UCP representative Irina Lanina told Reuters.

UCP and its partner Trafigura signed an agreement on Saturday to buy a 49 percent stake in Essar Oil, which includes a 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) refinery, import and export facilities, and gas stations.

In written replies to Reuters questions, Lanina said that UCP is sticking to long-term strategy regarding its stake in Essar Oil but “everything depends on the market situation and the asset’s valuation.”

“We plan to make this investment in a consortium with our partner Trafigura and are likely to exit together with them as well. As of now, we are looking at (remaining in Essar) for 3-5 years but time will show,” Lanina said.

Russian state oil company Rosneft will get a 49 percent stake in Essar Oil in the deal, which was structured to mitigate western sanctions and was valued at $12.9 billion. It gives the energy giant a gateway into the world’s fastest growing fuel market.

Lanina said that UCP plans to use its own funds and credit facilities to finance the acquisition of its stake but did not say how much it would cost.

Under the agreement, the 49 percent stake is equally split between Trafigura and UCP. The billionaire Ruia brothers own the remaining 2 pct stake.

Lanina added that UCP has no agreements to sell its stake to Rosneft or other shareholders at the moment. “We do not plan to sell our stake to anyone in the near future,” she said. (additional reporting by Oksana Kobzeva in MOSCOW and Nidhi Verma in NEW DELHI; editing by Christian Lowe)