Gulf Oil International to acquire lube blending plant in Singapore
Photo courtesy of Hin Leong Trading

Gulf Oil International to acquire lube blending plant in Singapore

Gulf Oil International Ltd, which is part of India’s Hinduja Group, has reached an agreement to acquire the lubricant blending plant and associated assets from Ocean Tankers (Pte) Ltd, located in Tuas, Singapore. The Hinduja Group also owns one of India’s leading auto manufacturer, Ashok Leyland.

The associated assets include wharf access, storage tank farm and terminal facility.

The facility will continue to operate as a going concern, according to an official statement from Gulf Oil.

“This facility provides a strategic opportunity for Gulf to invest further in the marine segment and grow its market share in marine lubricants and other services. It will also provide a regional hub to accelerate our business development plans in Southeast Asia within the automotive sector, with a focus on Vietnam, Malaysia and Thailand, as well as Oceania. In addition, we will continue to support and grow the existing customer base of Ocean Tankers (Pte) Ltd. We are excited to welcome the associated employees to the global Gulf family and engage with all stakeholders post-closing,” said Mike Jones, CEO of Gulf Oil International, which is based in London, UK.

The agreement is subject to closing conditions. The amount of the transaction was not disclosed in the announcement.

The Lim family – Lim Chee Meng, his sister Lim Huey Ching and their father and founder of the companies, Lim Oon Kuin – owns 100% of Ocean Tankers and Hin Leong Trading. Hin Leong Trading filed for bankruptcy protection in April 2020. According to a company presentation to lenders on April 14, it owed USD3.8 billion to 23 banks.

Ocean Tankers, as well as Hin Leong, Xihe Holdings and four special purpose vehicles have been placed by the Singapore High Court under judicial management for restructuring.

Singapore’s High Court approved the appointment of Ernst & Young representatives as interim judicial managers for Ocean Tankers in May 2020. Ocean Tankers specialises in the transportation of petroleum and related products, providing worldwide coverage from the Far East and Pacific Rim to the Persian Gulf and beyond. 

Under judicial management, a court appoints independent managers to run the affairs of a financially distressed company in place of existing management.

However, the Lim family was no longer interested in restructuring Ocean Tankers because the judicial managers of Hin Leong, Rajah & Tann, had sued the family, according to Reuters.

The Lim family had on September 30 proposed that Ocean Tankers “should be placed into liquidation instead.”