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France could invest with Libya in Petroplus: minister

PARIS (Reuters) - France could co-invest alongside Libya's sovereign wealth fund if the wealth fund takes over insolvent Swiss refiner Petroplus' plant in Normandy, industry minister Arnaud Montebourg says.

Montebourg, keen to secure a rescue of the Petit Couronne plant, the oldest refinery in France, heads to Libya with French foreign minister Laurent Fabius on Monday.

In an interview in Sunday newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche, Montebourg highlighted the fact that Libya's sovereign wealth fund had expressed interest in the refinery in Normandy, northwest France, which was put under legal protection after its Swiss-based owner Petroplus filed for insolvency last year.

"Our (French) Strategic Investment Fund could get involved alongside as a minority partner in viable projects," he said.

Several potential rescuers have expressed interest in the Petit Couronne refinery, including Hong-Kong-based Alafandi Petroleum Group (APG) and NetOil, a group led by Middle Eastern businessman Roger Tamraz.

Other candidates are Jabs Gulf Energy Ltd, an Iraqi company owned by Abu Dhabi's Hanna Al Shaikh Group, Iran's Tadbir Energy Development Group (TEDG), Swiss consortium Activapro AG, and Terrae International SA, another Swiss company.

(Reporting By Brian Love; Editing by Susan Fenton)

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