ELPE sale candidates preparing for on-site facility inspections

Officials of Switzerland’s Glencore and Dutch enterprise Vitol, the two qualifiers for the second round of a Hellenic Petroleum (ELPE) international tender offering a 50.1 percent stake, are expected to make on-site inspections at three ELPE refineries – in Elefsina and Aspropyrgos, both west of Athens, and Thessaloniki – within the next few days.

The on-site inspections will follow a presentation of ELPE’s financial figures made to Glencore and Vitol representatives in Athens last month. The two candidates have already been provided access to ELPE’s virtual data room (VDR), containing data related to the Greek refinery.

Glencore and Vitol, both international oil trading giants, are already well familiar with ELPE’s facilities. They share an extensive trading past with ELPE as key suppliers, played crucial roles in the Greek crisis of 2012, and replaced Iranian crude imports once trade sanctions were imposed on Iran.

TAIPED, the state privatization fund, now needs to announce an independent evaluator, to be tasked with setting a nominal price tag on ELPE. The fund launched a tender for an evaluator on July 30. Interested firms faced an August 14 deadline. It remains unknown if bids were submitted, and, if so, how many. A remuneration limit of 190,000 euros has been set for the evaluation task.

Insiders support that all is progressing on schedule and binding offers by the two candidate buyers should be expected between late September and early October.

Both Glencore and Vitol own refineries and petroleum firms around the world and are believed to be capable of making offers in excess of one billion euros, the value of ELPE’s 50.1 percent, according to yesterday’s closing stock price.

Vitol sells 7 million barrels of crude per day and petroleum products to petroleum groups, multinationals, industrial enterprises, chemical industries as well as the world’s biggest airlines. Last year, the Dutch firm, founded in Rotterdam in 1966, supplied 349 million tons of crude and posted a turnover figure of 181 billion dollars. It maintains 40 offices in various parts of the world, the main branches being in Geneva, Houston, London and Singapore.

Switzerland’s Glencore, headquartered in Baar Zug, trades 6 million barrels of crude per day and refined products. Operating production facilities in Cameroon, the Republic of Chad and Guinea, Glencore also holds a 49 percent stake in the oil storage and logistics firm HG as well as a 10 percent stake in the Singapore-based refinery JAC.