Austria's OMV sells Petrol Ofisi to Vitol for $1.45 bln

Austrian oil and gas group OMV put its Turkish subsidiary Petrol Ofisi up for sale a year ago in the context of plunging crude prices that depressed the global oil sector

Austrian oil and gas group OMV has announced the sale of its Turkish subsidiary Petrol Ofisi to Swiss oil trading giant Vitol for 1.368 billion euros ($1.45 billion).

OMV had put its Turkish subsidiary up for sale a year ago in the context of plunging crude prices that depressed the global oil sector.

The transaction, which is subject to regulatory approval, is expected to be finalised by the third quarter of this year at the latest, the Austrian group said in a statement on Friday.

As a result OMV will record a depreciation of 186 million euros in its results for the fourth quarter of 2016, in addition to the 148 million euro depreciation booked at the end of December for the sale of the subsidiary.

The group also indicated that its 2017 results will be hit by a negative exchange rate effect of 1.1 billion euros, linked to the plunge in the Turkish lira.

"The original plan of integrating Petrol Ofisi into the value chain of OMV Group could not be realised. Therefore, the decision to sell the company was the right and necessary step in the course of implementing our corporate strategy.

"In light of the challenging environment, I am pleased that we successfully concluded the negotiations," group CEO Rainer Seele said in a statement.

Like other OMV subsidiaries, Petrol Ofisi has suffered severe depreciations in recent years and has been hit by controls on oil profit margins by the Turkish regulator.

OMV, which employs 24,500 people, announced in mid-February a net profit of three million euros for the year 2016, after a net loss of 1.15 billion euros in 2015, but with a net deficit of 145 million euros in the fourth quarter due to negative non-recurring items of 415 million euros.