Swiss Klesch considers buying Canada Harvest refining unit -report

SEOUL Mon Jan 20, 2014 9:25pm EST

SEOUL Jan 21 (Reuters) - Swiss industrial group Klesch is considering buying the refining unit of Canada's Harvest Operations, a South Korean business daily said on Tuesday, as Harvest-owner Korea National Oil Corp (KNOC) trims its overseas assets.

Klesch has hired Deutsche Bank to conduct so-called due diligence on a possible purchase of Harvest's refining subsidiary, North Atlantic Refining, the Korean Economic Daily reported, citing investment banking sources.

A spokesman for state-run KNOC declined to comment on the issue.

KNOC, which bought Harvest for $1.7 billion in 2009, posted a net loss of 904 billion won ($850 million) in 2012 and a 162.5 billion won loss for the first six months of 2013, mainly due to higher refining costs and worsening margins at the Canadian company.

KNOC said last December that it would focus on exploration and production while slashing its spending on overseas energy and resources development. A senior KNOC official also said last September that it was considering selling "non-core" parts of Harvest.