Petroplus to close Swiss refinery

Petroplus says it closing down three of its five refineries in Europe, including the one in Cressier in western Switzerland, for lack of liquidity.

This content was published on January 3, 2012 - 10:59 and agencies

The Cressier closure is scheduled for mid-January and will leave about 260 employees without a job.

However, the local authorities and labour unions said they are hoping to find a solution to prevent the closure of the site.

On Tuesday, five Swiss, French and Belgian unions launched a joint appeal asking their countries to intervene to maintain jobs in the industry.

“We do not want to be the coal and steel industries of the early twenty-first century," wrote the unions in a statement.

The unions – among them Unia, Switzerland’s largest trade union – said they deplored the tendency to close European refineries and use imported products.
Petroplus began the temporary suspension of its plants in France and Belgium on Monday.

Petroplus said the reopening of the three plants would depend on the economic conditions and the availability of credit. Its 13 creditors include the banks UBS and Credit Suisse.

The Petroplus refineries in Britain and Germany will remain in operation.

Headquartered in the Swiss town of Zug, Petroplus employs 2,500 people in Europe. Its five European refineries have a total processing capacity of 667,000 barrels of oil per day.

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