Refinery launches voluntary retirement scheme

An employee at one of Greece’s two oil refineries is pictured in a file photo. Greece’s biggest refiner, Hellenic Petroleum, said yesterday it has launched a voluntary retirement scheme for administrative staff in order to save costs, as it plans to add workers to its core refining business. The company is cutting operating costs and wants to boost earnings from its core refining and marketing operations, aiming to double operating profits by 2012. ‘The plan targets mainly the administrative division,’ Hellenic Petroleum CEO John Costopoulos told Reuters in an interview. ‘The average age of our workforce is 47 to 48, we want a younger profile.’ Under the scheme, the company will offer early retirement to about 150 employees by late summer. The group separately plans to hire about 300 new employees for its refining business, where it plans to spend around 1.4 billion euros by 2012 to upgrade facilities at Aspropyrgos, west of Athens, and in Thessaloniki.