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TIMELINE-Former Petroplus refineries restarting
July 25, 2012 / 1:10 PM / 5 years ago

TIMELINE-Former Petroplus refineries restarting

(Adds Cressier restart and Petit Couronne developments in final paragraphs)

July 25 (Reuters) - Here is a look at the rise and fall of Swiss-based Petroplus, once Europe’s largest independent oil refiner, which crumbled as its mountain of debt became impossible to manage amid diving refining margins.

All but one of the five refineries -- Coryton in the UK -- have been given at least a temporary stay of execution.

1993 - Dutchmen Marcel Van Poecke and Willem Willemstein found Petroplus International B.V. from a management buyout. Five years later it lists on the Amsterdam Stock Exchange.

2000 - Buys the Cressier refinery in Switzerland from Royal Dutch Shell for an estimated $131 million, and the Teesside refinery in the UK from a venture of ConocoPhillips and ICI plc.

2005 - Private equity firms Carlyle and Riverstone Holdings buy Petroplus, which delists from Euronext Amsterdam in March in a deal worth around $689 mln and backed with debt.

2006 - Thomas O‘Malley recruited as chairman and chief executive. Karyn Ovelmen becomes chief financial officer. Co-founders van Poecke and Willemstein resign.

-- Petroplus pays over $500 mln for a refinery in Antwerp.

-- Petroplus lists company on the Swiss exchange, raising $2.4 billion and making big profits for Carlyle and Riverstone. Proceeds from the float also used to repay debt.

2007 - Petroplus shares hit an all time intra-day high of 115.87 Swiss francs in July. BP’s refining margins data archive shows its global indicator margin peaked in Q2 2007. Petroplus buys Britain’s Coryton refinery and Germany’s Ingolstadt in deals worth $2 billion backed primarily with debt.

2008 - O‘Malley replaced as CEO by American Robert Lavinia but remains chairman. Company buys the Petit-Couronne and Reichstett refineries in France from Shell for an estimated $875 million. O‘Malley sets up PBF Energy, a joint venture of Petroplus, private equity firms Blackstone and First Reserve, and becomes the CEO and chairman. It buys 540,000 bpd of refining assets in the United States, according to its website. Petroplus later describes PBF Investments as its investment vehicle. Petroplus’ debt at end of 2008 stands at $1.88 billion, up from $1.33 billion at the end of the previous year.

2009 - The company posts a loss in the third quarter, for the first time since the initial public offering. Petroplus renegotiates its revolving credit facility with bank group, securing a maximum loan size of $2.11 billion.

2010 - In May, Petroplus taps equity market for $146 million via a share sale to invest in PBF Energy Partners to fund the acquisition of Delaware City refinery. It cuts its dividend. Petroplus’s least profitable plant at Reichstett fails to find a buyer, prompting a halt in operations as a refinery. It is also forced to sell its stake in the PBF venture in September. In December, Petroplus announces the retirement of O‘Malley as chairman, succeeded by Patrick Monteiro de Barros.

2011 - The company posts a profit in the last quarter of 2010, since which it has fallen back to loss. Analysts question its future. Shares hit fresh lows after second-quarter loss unveiled in August triggers debt covenant breach. In November, Petroplus receives covenant waiver from revolving credit facility (RCF) lenders, allowing it breathing space until the end of the first quarter of 2012.

Dec. 27 - Petroplus says lenders have frozen about $1 billion credit facility it relies on to buy crude oil. Shares tumble by more than 40 percent in the day. Three days later Petroplus obtains a provisional financing agreement with its lenders, shuts Petit Couronne, Antwerp and Cressier refineries as crude buying line dries up.

2012 - Company files for insolvency protection in January. Ingostadt refinery is forced to close after it is unable to pay for crude oil. Coryton secures a tolling agreement from Marcel Van Poecke, together with Morgan Stanley and KKR in mid February. Oil trader Gunvor buys Antwerp refinery in March. A joint venture between Vitol, the world’s largest oil trader, and Van Poecke’s AtlasInvest agrees to buy the Cressier plant on May 2.

May 31 - Gunvor buys the 100,000 bpd Ingolstadt plant in Germany.

June 26 - A joint venture of Vopak, Shell UK Ltd and Greenergy agree to buy the Coryton refinery.

July 24 - A French court extends the deadline to submit bids for the Petit-Couronne refinery to August 24 with a court decision due on Sept. 4.

July 25 - Vitol says that the 68,000 bpd Cressier is now fully operational. (Compiled by David Cutler; editing by James Jukwey)

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