900 jobs at risk as administrator seeks deal to rescue Coryton oil refinery

 

Up to 900 jobs at the bankrupt Coryton oil refinery in Essex are hanging in the balance, with the deadline for a rescue deal due at midnight tonight.

The Thames estuary refinery – which supplies a fifth of the petrol sold in London and the South-east – ran into trouble in January when its Swiss parent company, Petroplus, filed for insolvency.

The operation was thrown a lifeline in the middle of February as its administrator, PwC, agreed a three-month deal with a consortium which included the US buyout firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts. Under that agreement, the consortium buys crude oil and passes it to the Coryton plant. The plant refines it for a fee and the consortium sells it on and pockets the profit. But this arrangement expires at midnight tonight.

PwC is scrambling to put together a longer-term deal which, ideally, would see the refinery sold as a going concern, or its debt restructured. Otherwise, the site could be used for something else or closed altogether.

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