Alcmene eyeing takeover of Germany's Schwedt refinery, Handelsblatt reports

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Industrial facilities of PCK Raffinerie oil refinery are pictured in Schwedt/Oder, Germany, May 9, 2022. The company receives crude oil from Russia via the 'Friendship' pipeline. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke/File Photo

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FRANKFURT, May 23 (Reuters) - Vienna-based Alcmene Group is interested in taking over the partly Rosneft-owned (ROSN.MM) PCK Schwedt refinery in eastern Germany, the Handelsblatt business daily said on Monday.

Alcmene tried to buy Shell's 37.5% share (SHEL.L) in Schwedt last year but this was pre-empted by Rosneft which sought to increase its holding above its 54% stake, a deal that was put on hold this year by Berlin in the wake of the war in Ukraine. read more

Germany's economy ministry is seeking alternative options for ownership and logistics for the refinery, an important supplier of transport fuels to Berlin and its surroundings. read more

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"We are prepared to take over the PCK Schwedt refinery completely," Alcmene MD Raul Riefler was quoted as saying in an interview published by Handelsblatt.

Alcmene officials did not respond to a Reuters request for comment.

Handelsblatt also said Leipzig-based biofuel company Verbio (VBKG.DE) - which refines local crops, oils and dung in the vicinity of the oil processing operations at Schwedt - was interested in "refitting" the refinery.

Founder and Chief Executive Claus Sauter told Reuters that Verbio wanted to operate the refinery to widen its activities and turn it into a carbon-free plant.

It would be able to ramp up its current bioethanol, biodiesel and biomethane output to a level that would utilise 25-30% of the capacity of the refinery's operations, and protect all its jobs, he said.

Sauter added that any engagement hinged on the course the government would take on whether it would continue allowing some food crops to be used in industry. Germany is reviewing priorities for food crops in light of grain export problems to world markets arising from the Ukraine war.

The 233,000 barrel-per-day PCK Schwedt is set to cut output as it stops using Russian oil it receives via the Druzhba pipeline through Poland and as the European Union plans to impose an embargo on Russian oil imports.

Shell has stopped buying Russian oil.

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Reporting by Vera Eckert, editing by Miranda Murray and Emelia Sithole-Matarise

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