French court rejects bids for Petroplus refinery
By INTI LANDAURO
PARIS -- A French court on Tuesday rejected the two bids filed by companies offering to take over an oil refinery from bankrupt refiner Petroplus and ordered the liquidation of the assets ending a 15-month procedure.
The Rouen court Tuesday ruled the two bids didn't ensure the viability of the Petit-Couronne refinery, which is located on the northern coast of France and employs 470 workers, a spokeswoman said.
The court considered Libya's Murzuk Oil and Dubai-based NetOil as the only potential bidders left after months of selection, but they didn't offer enough financial strength for a project that requires heavy investment, the French labor and industry ministers Michel Sapin and Arnaud Montebourg said in a joint statement.
The court-appointed receiver will now seek a buyer for the plant's assets and dismantle it if none is found.
The refinery was one of a series of industrial plants French President Francois Hollande had promised to protect before being elected in May 2012. The fate of the refinery has been debated since its owner, Swiss-based Petroplus Holdings, filed for protection from creditors in early 2012.
Petroplus, which operated five refineries in Europe, ran out of cash in the first day of last year after struggling for months in a market devastated by weak demand, overcapacity and cheap competition from Asia and the Middle East.
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