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Moroccan Samir Gets Backing For $1.04 Bln Capital Increase

Source: Reuters 10/19/2015, Location: Africa

Moroccan oil refiner Samir said it has won the backing of its extraordinary general assembly for a capital increase of 10 billion Moroccan dirhams ($1.04 billion) in an effort to end the company's financial difficulties.

The country's only refinery, controlled by Saudi's Corral Petroleum Holdings, suspended production at its 200,000 barrel-per-day (bpd) Mohammedia plant since August. It said it was working on a plan to resume production, without giving details.

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

Its shares have shed around half their value so far this year. The bourse suspended the shares in August when the company halted production.

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, analysts have said.

Corral, owned by Saudi billionaire Mohammed al-Amoudi, will provide $672 million of the capital increase before Nov. 15, and more if minority stakeholders do not subscribe, Samir said.

The company reported last month 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.

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.

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