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Big West Calif Refinery bidding deadline closer to sale

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    basil parmesan
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    Bidding deadline brings Big West closer to a sale

    BY JOHN COX, Californian staff writer
    Monday, Aug 03 2009 05:57 PM

    Casey Christie / The CalifornianThe sun sets behind the Big West refinery on Rosedale Highway.

    Big West refinery took a key step toward its eventual sale Monday as parent company Flying J Inc. accepted bids from as many as 10 potential buyers, a manager at the plant said.
    Monday was the deadline for would-be investors seeking to become the so-called “stalking horse” bidder. Whoever wins that designation has the right to negotiate a fall-back bid in case no better offer comes forward at a final auction expected to take place within about two months.
    Monday’s deadline puts the Rosedale Highway refinery on track for a sale that could reopen the refinery whose January closure led to layoffs for more than 175 local workers. Results of the bidding were not available Monday. A spokeswoman for Ogden, Utah-based Flying J said she had no information about the bidding process.
    Plant manager Gene Cotten said Monday’s winner will enter negotiations with Flying J in advance of a public comment period leading up to the final auction.
    About 10 potential buyers remain in the running, he said, although it is unclear how many will step forward as the auction nears.
    “You never know for sure” how many investors will bid on the refinery, he said.”When you’ve got to put your money up, it’s a different game.” The list of potential buyers has been shortened from 130 groups or individuals who had expressed interest when the refinery was initially put up for sale early this year.
    Big West ceased refining operations about a month after Flying J filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in late December.
    Flying J is now in merger talks with Knoxville, Tenn. competitor Pilot Travel Centers; their tentative deal excludes Flying J’s refining operations.

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