SAMIR Refinery Glencore and Carlyle Present Their Bid

Rabat – Swiss giant Glencore and US investment fund Carlyle Group have teamed up to bid on the Samir refinery in hopes of recovering about USD 600 million in loans they issued to the plant before it went bankrupt.According to Reuters, “two sources close to the process said the Moroccan government wanted at least $2 billion for the plant at Mohammedia, on the Atlantic coast near Casablanca,” although no decision on a sale is imminent, in part because of the complexity of the case. If this deal is concluded, it will allow the refinery to restart production. The Samir refinery, once a flagship of the refining industry in the Maghreb, has entered a spiral of difficulties since late 2014. On the June 1, 2016, the Court of Appeal of the Casablanca Commercial Court decided its final judicial liquidation. In August 2015, the government froze the bank accounts of its loss-making operator, a procedure which involved the sale of the assets of the company to the benefit of its creditors. Since then, the identified debt of the refinery amounts to MAD 35 billion, 13 billion of which are in unpaid taxes, says Reuters. While Glencore and Carlyle have yet to issue any official confirmation of the news, Reuters states that “if the deal goes through, it would become Glencore’s (GLEN.L) first oil refinery and allow the plant to restart production.”Glencore, an Anglo–Swiss multinational commodity trading and mining company with headquarters in Switzerland, has a USD 200 million prepayment deal with Samir funded by loans from banks Natixis and APICORP. “A source familiar with the situation said negotiations to restructure the debt were on hold until there was clarity on the fate of the plant,” reports Reuters.The company has repeatedly insisted the plant needs to restart production so creditors can gradually recoup the money, stated the press agency, adding that the oil trader giant has “now joined Carlyle(CG.O), which already co-owns refineries in Switzerland and Germany with Vitol, in offering to buy the plant.”

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