UPDATE 2-Canada's Couche-Tard makes short-list in $16bln Sinopec unit sale -sources
* Sinopec Sales will have about $53-66 bln in equity value
* Final bids are due by August end
* Suitors betting on exiting through IPO of the business (Adds analysts comment, details of bidders, Breakingviews link)
By Denny Thomas and Heng Xie
HONG KONG/BEIJING, Aug 19 (Reuters) - Canadian retailer Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc and China's Tencent Holdings Ltd are among suitors short-listed to buy a $16 billion minority stake in China's Sinopec Sales, the world's largest fuel retail network, people familiar with the matter told Reuters.
China Life Insurance Co Ltd, the nation's biggest insurer, Hong Kong-listed ENN Energy Holdings Ltd , privately-owned Fosun Group, Hopu Investment Management and Affinity Equity Partners have also progressed to the next round, said the people who declined to be identified as the sale process is confidential.
Formally known as China Petroleum & Chemical Corp , state-run Sinopec plans to sell up to 30 percent of Sinopec Sales by end-2014 as Beijing restructures government-owned assets. Sinopec Sales booked a net profit of 25.1 billion yuan ($4.1 billion) in 2013 from over 30,000 service stations and more than 23,000 convenience stores.
While a deal would give investors little control over the company, a likely exit through an initial public offering planned within three years has attracted a wide range of suitors, the people said.
The company also wants to boost non-fuel sales and is seeking investors to get into businesses such as car services, telematics, online-to-offline sales, financial services and advertising, the sources added. Continued...