Oil trader Gunvor Group Ltd. will buy the 107,500 barrel-a-day Antwerp refinery in Belgium from insolvent Swiss oil refiner Petroplus Holdings AG and plans to restart the plant as soon as possible.
Gunvor, which is registered in Nicosia, Cyprus, and has offices in Geneva and Singapore, expects to complete the deal in six to eight weeks, the company said in a statement today, without disclosing financial details. All of the plant’s staff will be retained, Gunvor said.
“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 Amsterdam-Rotterdam- Antwerp region,” Torbjorn Tornqvist, the company’s chairman and chief executive officer, said in the statement.
The Antwerp plant began shutting down at the end of December after banks froze $1 billion of Petroplus (PPHN) loans. Europe’s largest independent refiner filed for insolvency in January after talks with lenders to secure funding failed.
Gunvor sold about 1.26 million barrels of crude a day in 2010, with Russian oil accounting for less than 40 percent of that volume, the company said on its website. The trader’s revenue was a record $69 billion in 2010, the most recent year for which data are available on the website.
Petroplus’s Coryton plant in the U.K. returned to full operations last month after administrators secured crude supplies for three months through a “tolling” agreement with Morgan Stanley, KKR & Co. and AtlasInvest. Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Europe’s largest oil company, made a separate agreement to supply crude to Petroplus’s Petit-Couronne refinery in France for six months.
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