Britain to Sell Rest of Britoil This Summer

Associated Press

The British government said Friday that the previously announced sale of its remaining 48.8% holding in Britoil is planned for this summer.

Britoil is the oil and natural gas exploration and production arm of British National Oil Corp., which oversees Britain’s oil trading in the North Sea.

The government is phasing out BNOC and announced its intention to sell Britoil on May 2.

Britoil was fully state-owned until Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative government sold off 51.2% of it in November, 1982, as part of its program of returning large chunks of Britain’s public-sector industries to private hands.


Problems With Issue

But that issue ran into problems when more than 70% of the shares offered were not bought by the public and had to be accepted by underwriters.

In a written statement to the House of Commons, Treasury Under Secretary John Moore said 15 million of the 243 million shares to be sold would be reserved for company staff.

“Subject to market conditions, the offer for sale . . . is intended to take place during the summer. The offer price, which will be fixed and announced at that time, will be payable in two installments: one on application and the second approximately three months later,” Moore said.