Image courtesy of Sarah Joy/Flickr.

China Petroleum & Chemical, known as Sinopec, said Sunday it plans to sell a 30 percent stake in its retail business for $17.5 billion as part of a larger privatization plan by the Chinese government.

Sinopec’s retail unit will issue new shares to a consortium of 25 financial companies including insurers and investment funds. Most of the companies are based in mainland China and Hong Kong.

The consortium will receive a combined 29.99 percent stake in Sinopec’s retail unit with each investor holding a stake no larger than 2.8 percent, Reuters said.

China Life Insurance Company, a joint venture between People’s Insurance Group of China and Tencent Holdings, China International Capital and Harvest Fund Management will all acquire the maximum 2.8 percent stake for $1.63 billion each.

Hong-Kong based RJJ Capitol, owned by Goldman Sachs alum Richard Ong, is one of the few foreign investors in the sale and will buy a $590 million stake.

The retail unit consists of 30,000 gas stations, more than 23,000 convenience stores, oil product pipelines and storage facilities.

Sinopec will use the money to improve its fuel retail unit, increase non-fuel sales and pay down debt owed to its parent company Chai Zhiming.

Shares of Sinopec were down 6.8 percent at closing Monday on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

Last year, Sinopec reported a net profit of $4.22 billion.


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