Thai govt approves Exxon's unit listing plan

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BANGKOK, Jan 2 (Reuters) - The Thai cabinet has approved the initial public offering plan of Esso (Thailand), a Thai unit of Exxon Mobile Corp XOM.N, expected in March or April, a government spokesman said on Wednesday.

“The cabinet approved Esso’s listing plan, which should sell more than 20 percent of its shares to the public,” spokesman Chotichai Suwannaporn told reporters.

He did not say how much the company planned to raise.

But he said Esso shareholders had approved a plan to raise registered capital to 17 billion baht ($568.5 million) from 12.9 billion baht and the company was seeking Securities and Exchange Commission approval, he said.

Esso, 87.5 percent owned by ExxonMobil, operates a complex refinery with a capacity of 170,000 barrels per day. The Finance Ministry owns the remaining 12.5 percent.

The listing is required under an agreement made more than 10 years ago which allowed the oil firm to build a refinery in Thailand, which has seven refineries. Esso and Star Petroleum Refining Co, are only ones not to have listed. ($1 = 33.60 Baht) (Reporting by Trisanat Kongkhunthian; Writing by Khettiya Jittapong; Editing by Michael Battye)