BP says not selling German unit Aral

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British oil giant BP has no plans to sell its German fuel station unit Aral, a company spokeswoman said on Monday, flatly denying a weekend press report.

BP, which suffered a record second-quarter loss due to the devastating Gulf of Mexico oil spill, revealed last week that it will seek to raise 30 billion dollars (23 billion euros) over the next 18 months.

German magazine Wirtschaftswoche reported on Saturday that cash-strapped BP was looking to offload Aral for at least two billion euros.

Wirtschaftswoche cited unnamed investment bankers as saying that potential buyers of Germany's leading petrol station network with 2,500 outlets included France's Total, European rival Avia and Russia's Rosneft.

A BP spokeswoman said on Monday that Aral remains a core operation within the group.

BP chief executive Tony Hayward resigned last week, following a string of gaffes as the public face of the firm, in its three-month fight to stop oil leaking into the Gulf of Mexico.

The group also said it was putting aside more than 32 billion dollars to cover the cost of the spill, and reported a second-quarter loss of 16.9 billion dollars -- a quarterly record for a British company.

© 2010 AFP

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