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Billionaire Ratcliffe wants taxpayer loan for Ineos plant


The petrochemicals plant dominates Grangemouth (pic: Terry Murden)

Sir Jim Ratcliffe, one of Britain’s richest men, is asking the government for an emergency loan following a slump in demand for oil.

Petroineos, which is jointly owned by Sir Jim’s Ineos Group and the state-owned Chinese company PetroChina, has been in talks for weeks with the Scottish and UK governments about a loan package worth hundreds of millions of pounds, according to Sky News.

Industry sources said that Petroineos, which is based at Ineos’s Grangemouth refinery near Falkirk, said it needed up to £500m in state support, although they cautioned that a formal request could ultimately be for a substantially smaller sum.

Sir Jim, who is said to be worth £18 billion, now lives as a tax exile in Monaco. There was an outcry when fellow billionaire Sir Richard Branson, who lives in the Bahamas, approached the government for a loan to support his Virgin Atlantic airline.

Petroineos processes 420,000 barrels of oil every day at its two refineries at Grangemouth and Lavera in France.

An Ineos spokesman told Sky: “It should not come as any surprise that the refinery is talking to government at a time when demand for fuel has fallen during the period of lockdown.”

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