LyondellBasell ends talks on Berre refinery sale

MARSEILLE, France, April 16 Wed Apr 16, 2014 10:04am EDT

MARSEILLE, France, April 16 (Reuters) - Refiner LyondellBasell said it had pulled out of talks to sell its Berre refinery in southeastern France to Monaco-based Sotragem, adding that the bid offered no guarantee that the mothballed site would restart.

Economy Minister Arnaud Montebourg announced last month that privately owned Sotragem had made an offer to buy the refinery near Marseille, a deal that would have run counter to the trend that European refineries are closing due to overcapacity.

U.S.-listed LyondellBasell said in a statement on Wednesday that Sotragem's bid did not offer acceptable commercial terms and showed no guarantee of a restart of the refinery.

"LyondellBasell therefore decided to put an end to negotiations with Sotragem SAM," it said.

In January 2012, LyondellBasell had mothballed the 105,000 barrel-a-day refinery after having failed to find a buyer since putting it up for sale in May 2011.

Montebourg also sought in vain to save another refinery, the Petit-Couronne plant in northern France, which was closed last year.

Late on Tuesday, Montebourg said two companies, Bollore and Brownfields, had made offers to re-industrialise the Petit-Couronne plant, with plans to convert it into a strategic oil storage site.

A spokeswoman at Montebourg's office did not immediately return a request for comment. (Reporting by Jean-Francois Rosnoblet and Michel Rose in Paris; editing by Jane Baird)

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