China's Sinopec will pay almost $1 billion for a 75 percent stake in Chevron Corp's South African assets and its subsidiary in Botswana securing its first major refinery in Africa off the back of a huge jump in profits.

Yesterday the company revealed for the first quarter of this year it expected to more than double on higher crude prices and stable demand, bolstering plans by the world’s biggest oil refiner to raise spending for the first time in four years.

Net income during the first three months will jump about 150 per cent from the same period a year ago,Sinopec said in a statement Sunday to the Hong Kong stock exchange. That followed an earlier filing that showed it plans to increase spending by 44 percent this year and that profits in 2016 rose the first time in three years on improved refining margins and a one-time gain from pipeline asset sales.

China Petroleum and Chemical Corp - known as Sinopec - is Asia's largest oil refiner. The assets include a 100,000 barrel-per-day oil refinery in Cape Town, a lubricants plant in Durban as well as 820 petrol stations and other oil storage facilities.

Chevron Global Energy Inc said in a statement that Sinopec's bid was selected in part because of the better terms and conditions it offered, including a commitment to operate the businesses as going concerns and the opportunity to reap strategic value for its longer-term strategy in Africa.

The deal, which includes 220 convenience stores across South Africa and Botswana, is subject to regulatory approval.

With a growing middle class, demand in South Africa for refined petroleum has increased by nearly 5 percent annually over the past five years, to a current total of about 27 million tonnes, Sinopec said.

Sinopec in 2012 partnered South Africa's national oil company PetroSA to help develop a new greenfields refinery that has subsequently been shelved due to high costs. It said it would retain the whole workforce as well as the existing Caltex brand for the retail fuel stations for up to six years before launching a rebranding strategy.
The remaining 25 percent of the South African assets will continue to be held by a group of local shareholders, in accordance with South African regulations.

Reuters reported on Friday that Sinopec was the last remaining bidder in the auction which lasted more than a year and drew interest from French oil firm Total and commodity traders Glencore and Gunvor.

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