ECONOMY

Refinery firms’ shareholders approve merger

Shareholders in Greece’s largest refiner, Hellenic Petroleum, and in Petrola Hellas yesterday approved their merger to form a company with a combined 80 percent local market share. But analysts say they are hard pressed to see the benefits of the tie-up for Hellenic, a high-margin company with a wide range of products, which will now be saddled with Greece’s least complex and least profitable refinery. After Hellenic acquires Petrola, the new group under the name Hellenic Petroleum will have a market value of more than 2 billion euros ($2.3 billion) and production of 16 million tons a year. «Both production and storage will benefit, we’ll get some tax breaks, while, according to data given to us by ABN Amro, we can expect synergies of about $270 million,» a Hellenic Petroleum spokesman told Reuters after the meeting. «The only benefit for Hellenic is Petrola’s large storage capacity. To be honest, many consider the company as a bit of a storage shed, with the refinery as a little extra,» an analyst who did not wish to be named said. (Reuters)