Ivory Coast seeks to raise $592m for oil refinery debt

Ivory Coast plans to raise 360b CFA francs ($592 million) to clear debts owed by its oil refinery, Societe Ivoirienne de Raffinage, according to a senior official.

The West African nation will raise the money before the end of the year to pay off the refinery’s loans which have “impacted all development projects” to expand operations, Ibrahima Diaby, managing director of state-owned oil company Petroci, said in an interview in Abidjan, the commercial capital. Petroci holds a 46 percent stake in the refinery, according to the company’s website.

The government is currently investigating whether to raise the money locally or on international markets while the budget ministry is looking at the best structure for a deal, Diaby said.

Ivory Coast has taken on the debt which has eroded margins even as output reached a 30-year high of 3.4 million metric tons of refined products in 2015. Other shareholders in the company include Total SA and Burkina Faso.