British energy giant BP sells 11.5% stake in Castrol India

British energy giant BP Plc has sold part of the stake in Indian lubricants maker Castrol India Ltd held by its subsidiary Castrol Ltd, but would retain a majority stake in the company.

BP sold an 11.5 per cent stake in Castrol India to several domestic and international investors for an undisclosed sum.

The London-based company held a 71-per cent stake in Castrol India prior to the sale, which after the sale would reduce to a 59.5-per cent majority stake.

Commenting on the sale, Bob Dudley, BP Group CEO said, "BP remains committed to India and we wish to continue to grow our businesses here, progressing our upstream natural gas developments as well as our downstream opportunities, including lubricants."

''BP, through Castrol Limited, intends to continue as the majority shareholder of Castrol India. There will be no impact from this financial transaction on staff or customers of Castrol India or on its existing contracts.''

Sashi Mukundan, BP's India head, said, "India is a key market for Castrol with tremendous growth potential and is a major element of our global lubricants business. We will continue to have strategic control of Castrol India and this decision is independent of our upstream investments which we continue to progress. We are investing in India and plan to continue to do so."

Mumbai-based Castrol India manufactures and markets automotive, industrial and marine lubricants distributed through over 370 distributors from over 80,000 retail outlets.

Castrol India has three manufacturing plants located in Silvassa, Patalganga and Paharpur.

For the full year 2015, net sales from operations were around Rs3,298 crores ($507 million), profit from operations was up by 25.7 per cent to Rs856 crore ($132 million), while profit after tax was up by 30 per cent to Rs615 crore ($95 million) as against Rs475 crore ($73 million) in the previous year.

Employing around 8,500 people in the oil, gas, lubricants and petrochemicals businesses, BP is the largest international oil company in India.

In addition to its joint venture with Reliance Industries Ltd., BP's activities include Castrol lubricants; the licensing of competitive petrochemical technologies; oil and gas trading; IT, procurement and financial services; staffing and training for its global marine fleet.