• Buyout offer to be submitted to market regulator by Oct. 2
  • Co. to likely delist Ventspils after buyout completed

Vitol SA, the biggest independent oil trader in the world, plans to buy out the remaining 7 percent in the Latvian terminal and pipeline operator Ventspils Nafta AS and will probably delist the company once the process is completed, an official said.

Vitol, which boosted Ventspils stake to 93 percent on Sept. 17, will submit the buyout offer to the Latvian Financial Capital Market Commission by Oct. 2, Ventspils Board Chairman Robert Kirkup said in an interview in his Riga office late Tuesday.

“Having come this far we would look to buy the rest of the company, then the logical next step would be to delist,” he said. “There would be little point to leave it on the stock market.”

Vitol, through its Euromin subsidiary, increased its stake earlier this month in Ventspils after it bought a 34.5 percent share in 2006 when the government auctioned off its holding. Its increased ownership is bound to help in negotiating a better syndicated loan for Latvijas Kugnieciba AS, a Latvian shipping company that Ventspils owns a 49 percent stake in, he said. Ventspils Nafta may also be rebranded, he said.

Ventspils Nafta’s shares rose 73 percent on Sept. 10, three days before the company disclosed talks were talking place for the share transactions. The stock move, the biggest one-day rise in the company’s history, is subject of a probe by the market regulator.

“I believe it was part of people’s plan to make the deal look uncompetitive,” Kirkup said of the trades.

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