* No decision made on extension for Cressier
* Ruling could shift control to administrators
(Adds details, quote from administrator)
By Emma Farge
GENEVA, March 21 The holding and marketing arms
of insolvent oil refiner Petroplus have applied to a
Swiss court for a six-month debt moratorium to extend protection
from creditors as the company seeks to restructure debt, its
administrator said on Wednesday.
Petroplus Holdings AG and Petroplus Marketing AG, which
employs the firm's remaining oil traders, received a two-month
grace period to restructure debt from a Swiss judge that is due
to expire on March 27.
Provisional administrator Swiss-based law firm
Wenger-Plattner said in a statement that a decision on whether
to apply for an extension for Petroplus Refining Cressier SA,
which owns the Cressier refinery, will be made in the next few
The deadline for bids for the plant is March 26.
Earlier this month, Petroplus made around 70-80 workers or
about half of its workforce redundant at its Zug headquarters
ahead of a last-ditch survival plan to reduce its refining fleet
to two, sources familiar with the matter said.
Filippo Beck, partner at Wenger-Plattner, said that if the
extended grace period is granted this will result in a shift in
leadership from the former Petroplus management to the
"If the judge decides for the definitive debt restructuring
moratorium, the administrators will be in charge and not the
management anymore," he said.
Petroplus, Europe's largest refiner by capacity, filed for
insolvency in January after it defaulted on $1.75 billion of
debt. Its five European refineries have been placed on the
market and the Antwerp plant has been sold to Swiss-based
trading firm Gunvor.
A former Russian energy minister is planning to bid for the
three refineries in the UK, Germany and Switzerland, a source
close to the matter said on Wednesday.
(Reporting by Emma Farge; Editing by Jane Merriman and