Hovensa Hires Lazard To Sell Refinery

Hovensa has retained the global independent advisory firm Lazard as its sole investment banker to sell the refinery, according to a statement from the former refinery.

The contract is in accordance with the Fourth Amendment Agreement between the Government of the Virgin Islands and Hovensa and its owners, according to the refinery. The V.I.Legislature approved the new agreement Nov. 4 and Gov. John deJongh Jr. signed it Nov. 8.

The refinery ceased operations in 2012. Early in 2013, the V.I. government and Hovensa agreed on a proposed amendment that would have set the stage for the sale of the facility to a company that might or might not operate it again as a refinery.

DeJongh and administration officials characterized the agreement as a compromise preferable to potentially years of expensive lawsuits with uncertain outcomes.

But on Aug. 7, the Senate rejected the proposed amendment by an 11-3 vote, citing concerns over property tax abatements, desire for local control of an EPA-mandated environmental project fund and other issues. Then, in mid-October, the administration announced it had received "clarifications" of the points in question, and Hovensa officials signed a letter saying the terms of the letter of clarification were legally binding, as an addendum to the Fourth Amendment Agreement.

After some back and forth discussions, the Legislature then voted to ratify the agreement and its clarifications.

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