RABAT Dec 19 A Moroccan court has given the
trustee who controls Samir, the country's only oil
refinery, another three months to finish the liquidation process
and will invite expressions of interest in buying the plant in
the coming days, the court-appointed trustee said on Monday.
The 200,000 barrels a day refinery was shut down in August
due to financial difficulties and a court ruling then placed it
in liquidation and named an independent trustee to run it.
Its closure has made Morocco reliant on oil product imports
at a time when the North African kingdom is seeking to get its
finances back on track by tackling huge budget deficits.
The trustee, Mohamed El-Krimi, told Reuters the court has
responded positively to his request for an extension to the
deadline for completing the liquidation process for another
"We asked only for three months as we will invite investors
to submit expression of interests in the coming days, likely in
a week," El-Krimi said.
A ruling had given the new managing team until December 21
to restart the refinery in an effort to secure a buyer and a
Attempts so far to restart production before seeking a buyer
have been frustrated by difficulties in finding a supply of
However, restarting production remains a prerequisite for
investors, who will be invited to submit expressions of interest
in Samir, El-Krimi told Reuters last month.
The court has been working to evaluate the company's assets
and debt since 2015, when a judge ordered its liquidation.
Samir, in which Saudi billionaire Mohammed al-Amoudi's
Corral Holdings had a 67.26 percent stake, has been
battling creditors ranging from oil traders to banks.
The Moroccan government says Samir owes it 13 billion
dirhams ($1.33 billion) in taxes and its total debt is hovering
around 44 billion dirhams.
At just under 300,000 barrels per day, Morocco's national
petroleum consumption is Africa's fifth largest, according to
data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration
(Reporting By Aziz El Yaakoubi; Editing by Greg Mahlich)