(Adds details on stores, context)
BEIJING/HONG KONG, March 18 (Reuters) - Asia’s top oil refiner Sinopec Corp , owner of thousands of convenience stores across China, will set up a company to manage its retail assets as part of efforts to boost non-fuel sales at its petrol stations.
Sinopec launched its first convenience stores under the ‘Easy Joy’ brand more than five years ago. The Hong Kong and Shanghai-listed company now has 23,000 such stores, with sales totalling 13.3 billion yuan ($2.15 billion) in 2013, Sinopec said in a statement on Tuesday.
The refiner is also looking to reduce procurement costs for its convenience stores, according to the statement.
Sinopec unveiled a plan last month to restructure its massive marketing business, which includes the convenience stores and petrol stations, as well as oil-products pipelines and storage facilities across China.
Sinopec plans to sell up to 30 percent of its marketing business in a restructuring that analysts say can raise $10-$20 billion. Such a divestment will boost the value of the business, shore up the group’s deteriorating finance and reinforce investment in exploration and production, they say.
It has also launched fast-food services in partnership with some foreign companies at more than 300 of its 30,000 petrol stations, according to the statement. ($1 = 6.1781 Chinese yuan) (Reporting by Aizhu Chen and Charlie Zhu; Editing by Ryan Woo)