Petroplus granted reprieve

Swiss-based refiner Petroplus has reached a temporary deal with creditors that allows it to keep two of its five plants operating.

This content was published on January 12, 2012 - 08:34 and agencies

The agreement signed on Wednesday with the banks means that facilities in Coryton in Britain and Ingolstadt in Germany will continue their operations, but that the Petit-Couronne and Antwerp refineries in France and Belgium will remain shut.

The Cressier refinery in canton Neuchâtel, where 260 people work, is expected to close down next week.

Petroplus, Europe’s largest independent refiner which operates out of Zug, has been unable to buy crude petrol since last month when lenders froze around $1 billion (SFr950 million) in loans under the company’s revolving credit facility. It hopes to reach a new accord with its creditors by the end of the month.

The group lost $415 million during the first three quarters of 2011 in the wake of lower demand for petroleum products and overcapacity within the refinery industry. Its five refineries produce seven per cent of Europe’s petrol.

The Swiss authorities have said that the closure of Cressier, one of Switzerland’s two refineries, would not pose a threat to supply as the country has strategic reserves of gasoline, heating oil and diesel fuel equivalent to over four months usage.

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