Petroplus to Buy BP Coryton Refinery for $1.4 bln

Swiss-based oil refiner Petroplus said on Thursday it intended to buy BP's Coryton Refinery for $1.4 billion, its first big purchase after last year's $2.4 billion listing..

Petroplus listed on the Swiss Stock Exchange in November, saying it wished to build Europe's first trans-European independent refiner.

The Coryton refinery supplies airports Heathrow and Gatwick with jet fuel via direct pipelines and has one of the largest road distribution terminals in Europe, Petroplus said.

Petroplus, which operates refineries in Antwerp, the U.K. and Switzerland and which is in the process of buying a refinery in Germany, is likely to join Switzerland's SMI market index in 2007.

"The Coryton refinery will be a very significant addition to Petroplus's current portfolio of North Sea refining assets," said Chief Executive Officer and Chairman Thomas D. O'Malley.

The refinery employs 540 staff and has a total nameplate crude capacity of around 172,000 barrels per day, Petroplus said. The refinery has up to an additional 70,000 barrels per day of other feedstocks, the group said.

The group will host a press conference on Feb. 2 at 1200 GMT.

The deal is expected to close in the first half of 2007, the group said in a statement.