Ioan Niculae: ‘I will start no other business in Romania’


The last two factories of the industrial empire controlled by Ioan Niculae closed gates on July 11. Chemgas Slobozia and Viromet Victoria, the last two fertilizer producers still operational out of the 6 controlled by the businessman, were closed. Amurco Bacau, Nitroporos Fagaras, Donau Chem Turnu Magurele and Azochim Savine?ti are out of business for several months. All 6,000 employees still remaining will be sent into unemployment. When they were all in operation, the six chemical plants consumed a combined amount of approximately 3 billion cubic meters of methane, same as the entire population of Romania. In the fertilizers business, besides Niculae, only Azomures remains an important actor.  “The export of chemical fertilizers has been, for many years, in the Top 10 exports of Romania, with sales worth hundreds of millions of EUR. Since Ceausescu built them 40 years ago, it never happened that a whole industry runs bankrupt. But our present rulers succeeded it, although they promised they would help the industry, but they did nothing. They said they would totally liberalize the gas market, starting this year, which France will do only in 2016, but even thus, they did not do it and continued to impose regulated prices. When the Russians bring gas to the Baumgarten hub at USD 230, while Petrom and Romgaz sell, through state directive, at USD 290, it means that, out of incompetence or ill intention, the purpose is to destroy the Romanian chemical industry. I don’t want to start anything else in this country, I will only stick to what I have, and that’s it,” Niculae told According to the businessman, the plants will not be scrapped, at least for now, only put in conservation waiting for better times and “rulers if not more competent, at least in their right mind.” Another variant would be selling to a local or foreign investor willing to buy them.