China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation (Sinopec)—China’s largest refiner—filed an announcement with the Hong Kong stock exchange on Sunday that it will sell 30 percent of its $58 billion marketing unit, Sinopec Marketing, reports Reuters. The sale is expected to raise $17.5 billion.

According to the New York Times, the announcement caused Sinopec share prices to fall this week. Share prices declined 5.5 percent, hitting their lowest mark since February 5, 2013.

State-owned Sinopec will sell its nationwide chain of about 30,000 gas stations, many of which include convenience stores, to a consortium of 25 outside investors. The Reuters article calls the deal China’s biggest privatization effort since Chinese President Xi Jinping assumed office almost two years ago, supporting reformers in their campaign to bolster competition in the state sector.

According to the New York Times piece, nearly all of the investors are from China or Hong Kong and some are Chinese state-owned entities. Sinopec announced its plans to bring private investors into Sinopec Marketing, which netted a profit of $4.2 billion last year, back in February.

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Posted by Ellen Huber