Murco confirms sale of Milford Haven refinery: 400 jobs saved

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The sale of Murco’s Milford Haven refinery has been confirmed, saving the facility from closure and safeguarding 400 jobs.

Murphy Oil Corporation has announced that its wholly-owned subsidiary, Murco Petroleum, has signed an agreement to sell its Milford Haven refinery and terminal assets to Klesch Refinery. The price of the deal was not disclosed. It added that a separate transaction for the sale of Murco’s UK petrol station retail business is at an advanced stage, and the company will provide a further update on this in due course.

Klesch said in a statement: “We look forward to using our considerable industry expertise to return the site to profitable growth. By taking a long-term investment view we aim to secure the future of this refinery, for its employees and the broader community.”

The Klesch Group is a global industrial commodities business, with three divisions specialising in the production and trading of chemicals, metals and oil. Founded in 1990 with headquarters in Geneva, it has revenues in excess of €5 billion, and employs more than 2,000 people across 30 locations in over 17 countries around the world.

Murphy Oil announced more than three years ago that it intended to sell its UK business, comprising the Murco filling stations and the oil refinery. The company halted production at Milford Haven in May after a potential deal with London-based private equity fund, Grey Bull, broke down. The refinery has been a major employer at the port since it opened in 1973.

Although it has not been confirmed, the owner of Motor Fuels Group (MFG) is believed to be in talks to buy the 228 filling stations owned by Murco. Private equity group Patron Capital, which bought MFG in 2012 and a further portfolio of 54 Murco filling stations last year, is believed to be in negotiations over a deal worth around £200m.

In January 2012 Patron Capital Partners teamed up with Aberdeen oil tycoon, Alasdair Locke, and paid £40m for MFG, then one of the largest independent petrol station groups in the UK, and currently ranked fourth in the Forecourt Trader Top 50 Indies. In August last year the two parties teamed up again to buy a portfolio of 54 Murco petrol stations in a deal worth more than £50m.

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