Trafigura sells out of Russia-backed Indian refiner Nayara Energy

(Reuters) - Trafigura has sold its 24.5% stake in Russia-backed Indian refiner Nayara Energy to a Rome-based energy investment group, following on from a deal on Monday where a group of firms backed by the commodity trading company agreed to buy Lukoil's Italian refinery.

Trafigura said it had completed the sale of its "indirect minority interest" in Nayara Energy to Hara Capital Sarl, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Mareterra Group Holding formerly known as Genera Group Holding.

Reuters reported in 2021 that the global commodity trader was looking to sell its stake in the Indian oil refining joint venture with Russia's Rosneft to an Italian group Genera.

It is unclear how much Trafigura's stake in Nayara, formerly known as Essar Oil, is worth now.

Rosneft owns a 49.13% stake in Nayara. A similar-sized holding was split between Trafigura and Cyprus-based Russian investment group United Capital Partners (UCP).

Trafigura and UCP had 49.84% stake each in Singapore-based Tendril Ventures Pte Ltd, whose Cyprus-registered parent company owns a 49.13% stake in Nayara Energy.

Trafigura's equity investment in Tendril was worth about $166 million, according to its 2022 annual report.

"UCP remains committed to its investment in Nayara Energy and believes in its future growth opportunities," Trafigura's statement cited Irina Lanina, Managing Director of UCP Investment Group as saying.

Nayara operates a 400,000 barrels per day Vadinar refinery in western Gujarat state and 6,000 retail fuel stations. It is also building a 450,000 tonnes-a-year polypropylene plant.

Mareterra Group, an investment firm that focuses on energy and carbon efficiency infrastructure, is active in France, Italy, Luxembourg and Spain and wants to expand beyond Europe, the statement said.

"As a new shareholder in Nayara Energy, it will bring its strong experience in reducing the carbon footprint of fuel stations, installing electric charging stations, and improving energy efficiency at industrial assets," it said.

(Additional reporting by Julia Payne in London, editing by Jason Neely, Jane Merriman and Tomasz Janowski)

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