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Morocco Oil Refiner Samir Plans $1.04b Capital Increase

Source: Reuters 9/11/2015, Location: Africa

Morocco oil refiner Samir said it was planning a capital increase of 10 billion Moroccan dirham ($1.04 billion) in an effort to end the company's financial difficulties.

The refiner called for an extraordinary general assembly meeting on October 16 to approve the move, a statement issued after its board meeting said.

Samir, controlled by Corral Petroleum Holdings, announced last month it was halting 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.

The company on Thursday reported a 2.17 billion-dirham ($223 million) first-half loss.

It posted a record net loss of 3.42 billion dirhams ($354.52 million) at the end of 2014 mainly due to the revaluation of inventory after oil prices fell.

Samir shares have lost around 50 percent in 2015 on the Casablanca stock exchange.

The company 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, Morocco's petroleum consumption is Africa's fifth largest, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

The closure could also impact Moroccan banks exposed to Samir's debt, experts 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.

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