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Petroplus suitor not keen on Swiss refineries

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15:27 CET+01:00

Gary Klesch, head of the Swiss Klesch investment group, is interested in several assets of embattled oil refiner Petroplus but said he had no desire to snap up its Swiss operations.

Last week, Klesch said he was interested in buying the Petit-Couronne refinery in France as it stopped production after Petroplus filed for bankruptcy.

"We are also interested in Coryton in England and Ingolstadt in Germany," he was quoted as saying in the Bulletin de l'Industrie Petroliere, an industry publication.

"If we buy them, we will upgrade the refineries by applying our specific strategies and work methods," Klesch said, without giving more details.

As regards Petit-Couronne, he said the deal must be "done now or never. The longer a refinery is shut down, the more difficult it becomes to put it back into operation."

Petroplus owns two other refineries facing closure -- Antwerp in Belgium and Cressier in Switzerland -- but Klesch said he had no interest in the Swiss operations, which he described as too small and connected to an unreliable supply pipeline from Marseille, southern France.

Swiss based Petroplus, with $1.75 billion in outstanding debt, was forced to seek creditor protection after the failure of talks with lenders to reopen vital credit lines.

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