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Morocco Oil Refiner Samir Falls to $223m H1 Loss

Source: Reuters 9/10/2015, Location: Africa

Morocco's Samir made a 2.17 billion dirham ($223 million) first-half loss hurt by maintenance in January and February, the oil refiner said.

Samir, controlled by Corral Petroleum Holdings, announced plans last month to halt production at its 200,000 barrel-per-day (bpd) Mohammedia refinery.

Morocco's tax administration have since seized the company's bank accounts in pursuit of a 13 billion dirham ($1.3 billion) tax claim.

Samir said on Thursday the company's board would meet on Sept. 11 to decide on the terms of a capital increase in an effort to end its financial difficulties.

A year ago the company had posted a mid-year profit of 211 million dirhams.

Along with this year's mid-year loss it said sales fell by 32 percent and revenue was down 50 percent.

It had total debt of more than 24 billion dirhams at the end of 2014, company data showed, including billions owed to the government in taxes and charges. It had a cashflow deficit of 11 billion dirhams.

As Morocco's only refinery, its closure would make the country entirely reliant on imports.

At just under 300,000 barrels per day, its petroleum consumption is Africa's fifth largest, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Its closure could also impact Moroccan banks exposed to Samir's debt, expert say.

Saudi billionaire Mohammed al-Amoudi, owner of Corral Holdings, which controls 67.26 pct of Samir, has been negotiating with the Moroccan government to find a compromise to end the company's crisis.

Details of the outcome and what exactly has been discussed were not available, but Moroccan media reported that Al-Amoudi has been planning a 5 billion dirham capital increase which the government thinks is not enough to get the company back on track.

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