Swiss-based refiner Petroplus
has still not paid oil traders and other staff working in Switzerland, leaving many struggling to meet mortgage payments and pay off debt after Christmas, sources close to the company said on Thursday.

People from the team can't even pay their rents and bills because they're all very young, one source said.

Earlier this week, the debt-laden group moved into administration in Switzerland, Germany, France and the UK, defaulting on $1.75 billion (1.11 billion pounds) of debt.

Staff on the trading floor updated their profile pictures with burning wreckage and invited others to share our sorrows via their online status on the messaging system used to make deals.

Imagine, when I started in 2009, we had eight operating refineries, said one employee, who was also waiting for his January salary due earlier this week.

Workers said the Swiss government would pay a proportion of their salaries if the company failed to deliver, but it was not clear how much the state would cover, nor when payments would be received.

Administrators looking to monetise the company's assets will have to deal with a number of constituencies who are owed money, including employees, suppliers, lenders and bondholders.

The company and its subsidiaries have $1.75 billion in bonds outstanding, currently trading at between 27.96 and 33.75 percent of par, according to Reuters data, implying a total market value of around $500 million.

Petroplus was not immediately available to comment.

Adding to employee misery amid Petroplus' staff, competition for jobs in the business is expected to get tougher in the year ahead, as other oil refiners in Europe face trouble with vanishing refining margins and failing investments abroad.

In Poland, top refiner PKN Orlen
warned on Thursday its fourth quarter operating profit would drop by some 90 percent, much worse than analysts had predicted, because of writedowns of the value of its investments abroad.

(Reporting by Jessica Donati and Zaida Espana; additional reporting by Martin De Sa'Pinto in Zurich; editing by James Jukwey)