LukOil announces "radical decisions" on its business in Europe
Still has four major oil refineries in Europe – in Bulgaria, Romania, Italy and Netherlands.
The LukOil president, Vagit Alekperov, has stated the company is considering the sale of its factories in Italy, Romania, Bulgaria and the Netherlands. In addition, employees of the company in Romania are suspected of money laundering.
LukOil is considering the sale of its assets in Europe, its president Vagit Alekperov stated in an interview to RBC. According to him, the assets can be sold partially, all of them can be sold, or they can be turned into a separate company in order to find an investor later.
“These assets are not strategic for us. Over the past years we have mainly concentrated on the exploration and development of oil and gas fields. It may encourage us to make radical decisions about the fate of European assets in the future,” Alekperov explained.
“We can sell them partially, we can sell them all, or create a spin-off. We can offer our shareholders to create a new company, which would also be quoted on the stock exchange. A lot of major oil companies have done this,” he specified.
In 2014 the company sold its retail business in Eastern Europe: 44 petrol stations in the Czech Republic, 75 in Hungary and 19 in Slovakia. As the press service of LukOil reported, the decision on the sale of assets was made in the framework of the optimization of business in the field of oil product sales.
LukOil still has four major oil refineries in Europe – in Bulgaria, Romania, Italy and the Netherlands.
The company has problems with the law enforcement authorities in Romania. The conflict began in October of 2014. At the time, searches were conducted in several Romanian offices of LukOil in the city of Ploiesti, including the office at the Petrotel oil refinery. The company had to stop the work of this factory for a few days, but eventually, through the court, it managed to have the arrest lifted.
In July of 2015 the Romanian authorities arrested the assets of LukOil Europe, which amounted to €2 billion. The decision on this was issued by the Ploiesti Appeals Court. The document spoke about the institution of a criminal case on suspicion of money laundering and tax evasion concerning five employees of the Petrotel LukOil oil refinery. The damage over2012-2013 amounted to €230 million. LukOil denied the claims and appealed against the arrest in the court
At the beginning of 2016, the court of Prahova County dismissed the accusation on the criminal case against Petrotel LukOil, LukOil Europe Holdings B.V. and a number of their employees, sent by the prosecutor’s office. The Appeals Court of the Romanian city of Ploiesti also dismissed the prosecutor’s office appeal on this decision. So the case will be returned to the prosecutor’s office, LukOil noted. The decision was made by the courts “due to the lack of a criminal element in the actions of the accused, as well as a number of violations during the procedure of the investigation,” the company reported.
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