[MUMBAI] India’s state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp said on Monday it wanted to increase 250 billion rupees (S$5.29 billion) through debt to fund acquisitions and capital expenditure this financial year. ONGC’s first debt issue in over a decade would likely purchase the government’s 51.1-per cent stake in refining and marketing firm Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd, company officials and analysts said. New Delhi – which has about a dozen gas and oil companies – is currently trying to create a large integrated energy company. ONGC, already the biggest explorer of the country, would become India’s first group with operations spread across production mining, refining and marketing of its products and petroleum after the acquisition.
ONGC said it would seek shareholder approval for the debt issue on Sept 27 at its annual meeting. It had not decided on the mechanics, saying it could be issued in currency or rupees in markets through non-convertible debentures or bonds. ONGC is on a significant capital expenditure programme and plans to spend close to US$5 billion to develop its natural gas fields. REUTERS