Essar Oil UK agrees phased payment plan with UK tax authorities

By: |
September 28, 2021 7:38 PM

The company, which runs the Stanlow refinery at Ellesmere Port in Cheshire, north-west England, had hit some UK media headlines for overdue VAT payments, threatening the future of the refinery.

essar oilEssar had maintained that it was confident of reaching an agreement with the UK’s HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

Indian conglomerate Essar’s UK arm, Essar Oil UK, on Tuesday said it has entered into a new “time to pay” agreement with the UK’s tax authorities, aligned with the company’s revenues.

The company, which runs the Stanlow refinery at Ellesmere Port in Cheshire, north-west England, had hit some UK media headlines for overdue VAT payments, threatening the future of the refinery.

Essar had maintained that it was confident of reaching an agreement with the UK’s HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

“Essar Oil (UK) Limited (EOUK) confirms it has entered into a new time to pay agreement with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC). EOUK and HMRC have agreed a phased payment schedule, aligned with EOUK revenues,” the company said in a statement.         “EOUK is therefore confident of closing the last mile financings in the coming months after having successfully raised USD 1.1 billion earlier in the year,” it said.

The HMRC said it cannot comment on ‘identifiable taxpayers’ but noted that a ‘time to pay’ arrangement enables businesses to pay everything that it owes through a payment plan and return to a stable financial footing.

“HMRC is working hard to support viable businesses with genuine short-term difficulties and will always work with taxpayers to find the best possible solution, based on their specific financial circumstances,” an HMRC spokesperson said.

Satish Vasooja, the Chief Financial Officer of EOUK, thanked the HMRC for its support and reaffirmed the company’s plans for the UK market.

“With this time to pay arrangement, we now have a significant runway to stabilise our balance sheet which has been adversely impacted by the pandemic,” said Vasooja.

“The improved environment around margins gives us the confidence to continue to serve as one of the UK key fuel suppliers with a 16 per cent market share. We will also progress our future energy transition programme whilst also supporting a large proportion of the UK’s much needed fuel supply,” he said.

Essar Oil UK highlighted the work of its Stanlow refinery during the course of the coronavirus pandemic lockdown and its role in addressing the UK’s ongoing supply crisis, with several petrol pumps witnessing long queues of vehicles.

“Throughout the pandemic, including during the period that fuel demand was at very low levels, EOUK continued to run its Stanlow refinery, instead of shutting it down, to ensure adequate fuel supply to its customers across the UK,” the company said.

“More recently, in light of the ongoing supply issues, EOUK has reached out to its refinery customers and offered additional supply to ease the recent fuel constraints,” it said.

Essar Oil UK says it has increased vehicle shifts per day, which will increase even further by the end of October.

It pointed out that though aviation volumes remain low, the road fuels market has started to return to more normal levels.

The company’s Stanlow Manufacturing Complex is dubbed one of the most advanced refineries in Europe, situated close to the major cities of Liverpool and Manchester and employing 800 workers.

Since acquiring Stanlow in 2011, Essar says it has invested USD 1 billion in margin improvement and other efficiency initiatives to ensure the refinery remains competitive in a rapidly changing market.

Essar Oil UK is a major supplier in the north west of the UK and beyond, counting among its customers major retail brands operated by international oil companies and supermarkets, Manchester Airport, leading commercial airlines and the region’s trains and buses.

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