UpdateOil trader Gunvor to acquire Petroplus’ Belgian refinery

02 March 2012 16:59  [Source: ICIS news]

(Updates with confirmation from Gunvor)

LONDON (ICIS)--International oil trading group Gunvor has been successful in its bid to acquire the Belgian refinery of insolvent Swiss refiner Petroplus, it said in a statement on Friday.

Gunvor said it plans to restart the 107,500 bbl/day refinery at Antwerp as soon as possible.

The refinery was shut down after Petroplus filed for insolvency in January.

Gunvor said it expects to complete the acquisition within six to eight weeks, “with support from the local and Belgium state authorities.”

Financial terms were not disclosed.

“We are delighted to have won the bid for what will be a significant asset for the group as we look to expand our presence and trading activities in the ARA [Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp] region, as well as continuing our wider strategy of diversification from pure trading operations,” Gunvor CEO Torbjorn Tornqvist said.

“Given that, and the fact that Petroplus have invested heavily in the refinery in recent years, we are confident we will be able to integrate it fully with our trading operation to ensure it becomes a profitable and sustainable part of our infrastructure portfolio,” Tornqvist added.

Gunvor, which is registered in Nicosia, Cyprus, has major trading operations in Geneva and Singapore.

Petroplus filed for insolvency in January after lenders froze about $1bn (€750m) in credit lines in late December. The insolvency affected Petroplus’ five refineries in Europe, including the plant in Belgium.

Shell said last week that it had agreed to help fund the restart of Petroplus’s 161,800 bbl/day French refinery at Petit Couronne.

Meanwhile, administrators in the UK, Germany and Switzerland are seeking investors for the Petroplus refineries in those countries, at Coryton, Ingolstadt and Cressier, respectively.

Petroplus’ shares were up 7.1% to Swfr0.75/share on Switzerland’s SIX stock exchange at 16:48 Switzerland local time.

($1 = €0.75)

By: Stefan Baumgarten
+1 713 525 2653

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