Trader Vitol has moved four of its executives onto the board of Saras as it finalised its $1.8bn takeover of the Italian refining and chartering group.

The commodities and shipowning giant said it has acquired a stake of 35% from the Moratti family, bringing its total holding to 45.48%.

Vitol will now launch a mandatory tender for the rest of the stock at the same price — €1.75 ($1.88) per share — it paid for the Moratti shares.

The goal is to delist the Italian company from the Milan Stock Exchange.

“For me, my children, my grandchildren and my entire family, this moment is filled with emotions, coming from the long and joyful history together with the company,” said chairman Massimo Moratti.

“Yet we live it with the certainty that the entry of a leading player in the energy sector like Vitol will guarantee a great future for the company, its employees and the local community.”

Vitol chief executive Russell Hardy added: “We look forward to deploying our expertise and working with the local management team on this next chapter for Saras. We are mindful of our responsibilities, both to the company and its stakeholders, and remain committed to investing in Saras’ future.”

Non-executive directors Angelo Moratti, Angelomario Moratti, Gabriele Moratti and Giovanni Moratti resigned with immediate effect.

Vitol executives Thomas Baker, Clive Christison and Ciprea Scolari will be non-executive board members, and Dat Duong has been appointed in an executive director role.


Massimo Moratti has handed over the operating and management powers granted to him by the board in 2023, Vitol said.

He will continue as chairman until the offer has been settled.

The board also approved the appointment of deputy chief executive Franco Balsamo as CEO.

Saras’ big asset is the largest single-site refinery in the Mediterranean, at Sarroch in Sardinia.

The 300,000 barrel per day plant supplies products to Italy and the rest of Europe.

Saras also has a chartering arm, a power plant and a renewables portfolio comprising 171 MW of operational wind assets and a pipeline of 593 MW of wind projects and 79 MW of solar.

Saras was founded in 1962 by Angelo Moratti.

Vitol now has investments in more than 800,000 bpd of refining capacity across seven sites.