Petroineos, an energy business part-owned by Jim Ratcliffe, is looking to secure up to £500m in government loans amid low oil demand, which was triggered by the coronavirus pandemic.
The energy company is jointly owned by Ratcliffe's Ineos Group and a state-owned Chinese company called PetroChina. Petroineos, which is based at Scotland's only oil refinery near Falkirk, and has been discussing a loan package worth hundreds of millions of pounds with the UK and Scottish governments.
Industry insiders told Sky News (opens in new tab) the business has signalled it could need up to half a billion pounds in state support although a formal request could eventually be significantly smaller. Ratcliffe is estimated to be Britain's third-richest man, worth £18 billion, and is reported to have moved to Monaco for tax purposes.
Oil refineries are struggling after fuel demand collapsed as coronavirus lockdown significantly reduced road travel. Ineos has been keen to stress this potential loan is for its side venture, not the main business.
It is currently unknown if there will be any knock-on effect on Team Ineos, who are estimated to have the highest budget in the WorldTour peloton of around £40 million, and have so far escaped the financial issues that have affected some of their competitors.
It was confirmed yesterday that CCC's sponsor would be pulling out at the end of 2020 (opens in new tab), and would only be paying riders half of their wages for this year, while Astana boss Alexandre Vinokourov says his team won't survive the season if racing doesn't return.
Ineos told the Times (opens in new tab): "It should not come as any surprise that the refinery is talking to the government at a time when demand for fuel has fallen significantly during the period of lockdown," before adding that "the request is not from Ineos but from Petroineos, a 50-50 joint venture between Ineos and Petrochina".
Ineos also said they have spent millions adapting plants to make hand sanitiser for the NHS, which it has supplied for free.
A government spokesperson commented: "Firms can draw upon the government’s comprehensive package of financial support, including loans and guarantees, tax deferrals and the job retention scheme, to help them through this challenging time."
Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Join now for unlimited access
Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
Hi. I'm Cycling Weekly's Weekend Editor. I like writing offbeat features and eating too much bread when working out on the road at bike races.
Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab and I've also written for Vice, Time Out, and worked freelance for The Telegraph (I know, but I needed the money at the time so let me live).
I also worked for ITV Cycling between 2011-2018 on their Tour de France and Vuelta a España coverage. Sometimes I'd be helping the producers make the programme and other times I'd be getting the lunches. Just in case you were wondering - Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen had the same ham sandwich every day, it was great.
8 common issues faced by smaller adult cyclists – and a bike fitter’s advice on how to overcome them
From frame size to stance width, crank length to brake levers – stock setups are stacked against smaller cyclists, but there are ways to get a better fit
By Nicole Oh • Published
Wahoo Christmas Sales discounts on Kickr V5 smart trainer, Kickr Bike 1.0 and V1 Elemnt Roam bike computer
Wahoo have continued to reduce prices on some of its best known products, offering big savings during the Christmas period
By Paul Norman • Published