LyondellBasell, which emerged from bankruptcy protection in May 2010, is seeking a buyer for its 105,000 barrels-per-day refinery at Berre, France, and has hired an investment banking firm to assist it with the sale. The refinery is operated by LyondellBasell's subsidiary, Compagnie Petrochimique de Berre SAS (CPB).
LyondellBasell said the refinery, acquired in 2008 by its former management, has not fulfilled economic projections made at the time of the acquisition.
"Divesting the refinery would help us to focus on our core petrochemical assets at Berre. We will move diligently and expeditiously to prepare an offering memorandum for interested bidders," Jean Gadbois, general manager of the Berre site, said.
The Berre site also has a steam cracker and world-scale polypropylene and polyethylene plants that are owned and operated by a subsidiary of LyondellBasell. The company, however, is not looking to sell the olefins and polyolefins units at Berre.
LyondellBasell's divestment of the Berre refinery comes at a time when other oil majors such as Total SA and Petroplus Holdings AG are trying to cut capacity because of a drop in profits and declining demand for fuels.
Total has idled its Flanders facility in the northwest since 2009 while Petroplus ended crude-processing at its 81,000 barrel-a-day Reichstett plant in northeastern France in April and has begun to convert the site into a terminal.
LyondellBasell is one of the world's largest plastics, chemical and refining companies with manufacturing facilities at 58 sites in 18 countries.
The company manufactures a range of products used in packaging, electronics, automotive parts, home furnishings, construction materials and biofuels.