No takers for LyondellBasell's French refinery

LyondellBasell's offer to sell its 105,000 barrels-per-day refinery in Berre, France has failed to elicit any response from prospective buyers and the company now plans to start consultations with its worker councils in a bid to cease operations of the refinery.

Compagnie Petrochimique de Berre SAS (CPB), the operator of the refinery, will initiate consultations with its works councils, as required under French law, the company said in a release.

"After conducting a thorough sales offering that included reaching out to 85 entities throughout the world with the assistance of Barclays Capital and the Invest in France Agency (AFII), unfortunately not a single bid was received for the refinery," said Jean Gadbois, general manager of the Berre site. 

"Despite efforts from employees and management, the refinery continues to suffer severe losses and remains unprofitable," Gadbois said. "With no viable prospects for a buyer of the refinery, we intend to initiate the consultation process regarding the contemplated closure of refinery operations. We intend to focus our resources on the core petrochemical assets at Berre," he added.

The closure of the refinery would affect around 370 jobs while continuation of the petrochemical operations at Berre would preserve approximately 900 jobs at the Berre site, LyondellBasell said.

The petrochemical assets at Berre include a steam cracker and world-scale polypropylene and polyethylene plants owned and operated by another LyondellBasell subsidiary.  The potential closure would not affect depot operations or the petrochemical plants and third-party facilities at Berre, the company said. 

LyondellBasell plans to start the required consultation with the works councils in France in October.

With 85 units in 18 countries, LyondellBasell is one of the world's largest plastics, chemical and refining companies. The company manufactures a whole range of items, including packaging, electronics, automotive parts, home furnishings, construction materials and biofuels.