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By Sumeet Chatterjee and Nidhi Verma
MUMBAI/NEW DELHI, June 11 India's Essar Group
plans to sell the Stanlow refinery in Britain, three sources
familiar with the matter said.
Essar is seeking to raise $500-$600 million for the plant in
the northwest of England, two of the sources said. However other
plants recently put up for sale in the UK, Murco's Milford Haven
and the Bankrupt Petroplus's Coryton, have failed to find
Essar Energy, the subsidiary of Essar Group that bought the
refinery for $350 million from Shell in 2011, declined
Stephen George, chief economist at KBC Process technology,
said the price being sought could be hard to achieve.
"It would be optimistic in the current margin environment to
expect that the asset has increased in value, though Essar have
made strides to improve the configuration and margin of Stanlow
which may improve the asset value," he said.
A formal sales process will be launched after all the
requirements related to the delisting of Essar Energy from the
London Stock Exchange, two of the sources said.
Essar Energy shares ceased trading on the London Stock
Exchange on Tuesday, and the formalities of making the company a
privately held company wholly owned by Essar Global Fund Limited
(EGFL) are set to be completed by next month.
EGFL, the investment vehicle of Essar Group, announced
earlier this year that it would de-list its UK operation.
In 2012 Barclays took control of existing crude and
refined oil assets at the plant, so it is unclear whether any
purchase of the plant would include those assets, which could be
worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
Barclays was not available for comment on current
Caught between soaring crude prices and collapsing diesel
profits, European oil refiners are slashing operating rates by
nearly a quarter ahead of the peak summer period.
(Additional reporting and writing by Simon Falush in London;
Editing by Louise Heavens and Pravin Char)