The Government Companies Authority will place advertisements in the domestic and international press Thursday inviting interested parties to post their candidacy to purchase Oil Refineries Ltd. (Bazan)'s Ashdod facility, the Finance Ministry said Tuesday. The announcement comes following a High Court of Justice decision from December 28 to reject an appeal by the Movement for Quality Government against payments made to the Ofer brothers' Israel Corp., at the expiry of their concession to operate the Ashdod and Haifa oil refineries. The Histadrut Labor Union protested Tuesday's announcement and said that it would "not hesitate to take all legal steps at our disposal to stop the process," claiming that GCA Director Eyal Gabbai had only Monday promised not to pursue the sale until the workers' rights were settled and a collective agreement signed. The government and Bazan intend to sell all state-held stock in the Ashdod oil refinery to a party that will operate it as an independent company from the day of its sale, the ministry said. Once the sale of the Ashdod facility is completed, the government intends to issue the stock of the Haifa refinery on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, or sell it to a private group. The large fuel companies would be allowed to bid for the Ashdod plant, but not for the Haifa refinery. Israel Corp. has said in the past it would be interested in taking part in the privatization, as has Alon Oil Group. Parties may express their interest in the Ashdod facility by February 16, after which a date will be set for submitting formal bids, most likely in mid-May. The government intends to close a deal soon after. London-based investment bank HSBC and Jacobs Consultancy - a firm specializing in refineries, energy, government agencies and other areas, with offices in Houston, London and Leiden - will follow the privatization process, the ministry noted.