China's top oil refiner Sinopec said Friday that the company would not reject foreign capital in its move to bring in social and private investment in its lucrative oil distribution business.
Sinopec announced last month that it would restructure the company's distribution business and allow social and private capital to take no more than 30 percent of the shares.
"Social capital includes foreign capital," Sinopec spokesman Lyu Dapeng told Xinhua, after some media report claimed that foreign capital would be largely kept out of the process.
He said the company has started evaluate assets in the distribution sector for restructuring, and specific policies for the move is still on drawing board.
"The final policy on soliciting social capital will be subject to approval of related departments," he said.
In an interview on the sidelines of the annual session of the National People's Congress, the country's top legislature, Sinopec's board chairman Fu Chenyu said compared with local capital, foreign investors have shown a stronger interest in participating the process after the news came out.
Sinopec is the first of the three big state oil companies, including PetroChina and CNOOC, to bring in private capital in the profitable distribution business amid the country's reform drive to actively develop a diversified ownership economy.
As of the end of 2013, Sinopec operated 30,532 oil stations. Retail sales of refined oil products amounted to 114 million tonnes on the Chinese mainland last year.
According to the company's annual report, its oil distribution business pocketed 42.7 billion yuan (7 billion U.S. dollars) in 2012.
Developing a mixed ownership economy to give more opportunities to private and social capital has been high on the government reform agenda this year.
Non-state capital will be allowed to participate in a number of projects in areas such as banking, oil, electricity, railway, telecommunications, resources development and public utilities, according to the government work report on Wednesday.