Petroplus gains more time for Coryton refinery sale talks – PwC

31 January 2012 15:34  [Source: ICIS news]

(recasts, clarifying date in ninth paragraph)

LONDON (ICIS)--Petroplus has been granted more time to find a buyer for its Coryton refinery in the UK after a deal was struck to process a cargo of oil at the facility, the company’s administrator said on Tuesday.

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) said its purchase of the oil cargo will allow for more time to carry out discussions over a possible sale of the 220,000 bbl/day facility.

The consulting and auditing firm was appointed administrator for Petroplus’s UK sites after the Switzerland-based refiner filed for insolvency last week.

Petroplus was unable to reach an agreement with its lenders and could not continue to fund its subsidiaries.

PwC said the oil purchase will allow refining to carry on while efforts to find a more stable solution for Petroplus continue.

“It has required extensive discussions and intense negotiations to acquire this cargo of oil. It provides vital breathing space,” said Steven Pearson, joint administrator and partner at PwC.

The firm said discussions have been ongoing with a number of parties that have expressed an interest in sustaining refining at the site. It said the oil purchase provides more time to allow those discussions to be assessed by all parties.

“We continue to work through the day and night to find a solution which buys more time and which ultimately could result in a sale,” Pearson added.

On 20 January, Petroplus announced plans to sell its refinery in Petit Couronne, France, and said it was evaluating the potential sale of its refineries in Switzerland and Belgium.

The company earlier this month temporarily shut down its refineries at Cressier, Switzerland, Petit Couronne and Antwerp, Belgium, after lenders froze some $1bn (€760m) in credit lines.

On Friday 27 January, the Klesch Group confirmed its interest in acquiring the Petroplus refineries in Petit Couronne, Coryton and Ingolstadt in Germany.

Petroplus’s 110,000 bbl/day refinery at Ingolstadt, near Munich, continues to run, but at a throughput of about 30–40% of capacity.

($1 = €0.76)

Read Paul Hodges’ Chemicals and the Economy blog

By: Leigh Stringer
+44 208 652 3214

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