Nynas Bid for Shell Hamburg Refinery Assets Faces EU Probe

Nynas AB’s bid for Royal Dutch Shell Plc’s Hamburg oil refinery assets faces a European Union investigation over possible competition concerns for oils used for industrial products.

The EU extended its deadline to rule on the deal until Aug. 8, saying the acquisition would remove the only competing producer of naphthenic base oils used to make industrial greases, metalworking fluids, adhesives, inks, and fertilizers and other products, regulators said in an e-mailed statement.

“The commission needs to make sure that it would not raise production costs for European companies as well as prices for the customers of the various end products,” EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said in the statement.

Nynas, a venture of Neste Oil Oyj and Petroleos de Venezuela SA, agreed to buy part of the facility, including a base-oil plant, tank farms and jetties, after Shell said in 2011 that it would halt fuels product after failing to find a buyer for the northern German plant. Shell said last month it would cease diesel and gasoline output as it converts the refinery to storage.

Hans Oestlin, a spokesman for Nynas in Stockholm, said the company will cooperate with the commission and expects to receive a positive outcome.

Jonathan French, a spokesman at Shell, declined to comment immediately.

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