REFILE-UPDATE 2-Petroplus taps market for $146 mln, shares drop

(Corrects to remove superfluous share price in first bullet
point)

* Around 8.65 mln shares to be issued

* Posts Q1 estimated clean net loss of $5 million

* Revenue up sharply after maintenance work brought forward

* Shares down 2.5 percent, touch two-month low
(Adds shares, analyst comment)

By Martin de Sa’Pinto

ZURICH, May 5 (BestGrowthStock) – Swiss-based oil refiner Petroplus
Holding AG (PPHN.VX: ) is seeking $146 million via a share sale to
fund acquisitions, the group said on Wednesday, sending its
shares down more than 3 percent.

Petroplus said it would sell 8.65 million new shares, or 10
percent of the current share count, giving an average price of
16.88 Swiss francs or a 9 percent discount to Tuesday’s closing
price of 18.59 francs.

Shares in Petroplus were trading 2.5 percent lower at 18.13
francs by 0844 GMT, underperforming a 0.3 percent fall in the
STOXX Europe 600 oil and gas index (.SXEP: ), as investors gauged
the effect of the issue on future earnings per share.

The shares fell as low as 18.08 francs, its lowest in two
months.

The company also said it had swung to a $5 million
first-quarter loss — on the basis of “clean” figures stripping
out the effect of oil price changes on inventory — as higher
materials costs outweighed a sharp rise in revenue, but struck
an upbeat tone on improving refining margins.

“We believe the trend to better margins that we saw in the
first quarter will continue as the world economy recovers from
the deep recession,” said Petroplus Chairman Thomas O’Malley in
a statement.

“2009 was the perfect storm which negatively affected the
world’s refining industry. Storms don’t last forever and it
seems to have passed. We believe better days are ahead,”
O’Malley said.

Around $125 million of the capital raised in the share issue
will be used to fund the company’s portion of a recent refinery
acquisition via its joint venture PBF Energy Partners, Petroplus
said.

BUYING SPREE

The share sale by an accelerated bookbuild was being handled
by Morgan Stanley (MS.N: ) (Read more about the money market today. ) and Credit Suisse (CSGN.VX: ) as joint
global coordinators and joint bookrunners.

In a recent buying spree, Petroplus agreed to acquire Valero
Energy’s (VLO.N: ) shuttered Delaware City refinery via PBF, a $2
billion fund owned with private equity firms Blackstone Group
(BX.N: ) and First Reserve Corp, and made an offer for Total’s
(TOTF.PA: ) Lindsey refinery in Britain. [ID:nWLB3237]
[ID:nN08203264]

The company has been juggling its refining capacity this
year, shutting its Cressier refinery in Switzerland in April and
scheduling a one-month turnaround at its Reichstett, France
refinery for late May. [ID:nLDE63L21E]

Petroplus said on Wednesday it is looking into the possible
sale of Reichstett and could shut it if no buyers emerge.

The $5 million clean net loss was slightly above analyst
expectations and below a $40 million profit a year earlier,
although increased production drove revenue much higher.

Stripping out discontinued operations, revenue rose 67
percent from the same quarter a year earlier to $5 billion,
beating expectations for $4.6 billion after scheduled 2010
maintenance was brought forward to the end of 2009.

“With a slight recovery of margins, March was the key month
of the quarter and results were in line with our forecasts.
Given the low transparency and depressed outlook due to spare
refining capacity, we remain on the sidelines,” Vontobel analyst
Andreas Escher said.

Stock Market Report

(Editing by Jon Loades-Carter and David Holmes)
($1=1.086 Swiss Franc)

REFILE-UPDATE 2-Petroplus taps market for $146 mln, shares drop