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August 14, 2022

Hidroelectrica “insolvency” aims at reorganisation, not bankruptcy

Premier accused ex-economy minister Videanu for approving electricity exports at dumping prices.

The delegate minister for the Business Environment, Lucian Isar said yesterday in a press conference that, technically, the privatisation of Hidroelectrica remains a valid option, as insolvency is just a legal procedure. “Reorganisation is a legal procedure. The answers that may be given will be given by the head of the Hidroelectrica Board, Remus Vulpescu. Technically, privatisation still stands,” Isar mentioned, adding that the government must improve the position of companies in the market. “We will not repeat the mistakes of last year, such as those related to Petrom or Transelectrica. The money must stay with the companies,” the minister added, quoted by Mediafax.

Also yesterday at noon, in a press conference strictly dedicated to Hidroelectrica, Remus Vulpescu the chairman of the Board and also the head of the Office of State Ownership and Privatisation in Industry (OPSPI) stated that filing for insolvency after a “management disaster” and the draught of 2011 does not aim at declaring the company bankrupt, but rather at a reorganisation that will last for 16-18 months and will not result in the sale of assets or the decommissioning of hydropower plants. The request addressed to the court was justified by the financial situation of Hidroelectrica, as the insolvency procedure is neither “strategy” nor “trick,” the company official added. The court has set the first hearing for today, June 20.In the beginning of the conference, he tried to justify the statements he had made Monday about the insolvency of Hidroelectrica, when he said that he knows nothing about the issue. “I did not imply that I was completely ignoring the insolvency request; I only wanted to say that I knew nothing about the punctual subject of the question I had been asked on several occasions, if a certain TV channel has the document and posted it on its site. (…) As I was in Vienna, I could not check verify this on the internet” he explained. According to Vulpescu, it was him that wrote and signed – together with other company officials – the insolvency request sent to the court by the Board of Hidroelectrica. The other Board members that signed the request are Iulian Butnaru and Oana Truta, and there are mandates from the other two members. At the end of the conference, attended by the interim CEO of the company, Stefan Gheorghe, Vulpescu was asked if he will resign from his position. “If what? (…) it is not me that administered it for the last 8 years.”In his turn, Rudolf Vizental, managing partner with insolvency firm ‘Casa de Insolventa Transilvania’ believes that the insolvency of Hidroelectrica was an unexpected move that sets a precedent, so other state companies will use the same procedure. “The case also has a big political connotation, so I am reluctant to say more,” Vizental added during a seminar.Also yesterday, Premier Victor Ponta unveiled in a press conference two documents about electricity exports at dumping prices, approved by the former minister of Economy, Adriean Videanu, and added that he hopes DIICOT and DNA will elucidate the case. Asked about the situation of Hidroelectrica, Ponta said that he does not want to say more, in order not to influence the court decision due to be made with this regard. “but as I don’t want to disappoint you I will only say that we are starting to find documents on how electricity exports were organised at prices of RON 128, 174 and 180 per MW, while the market price was RON 220. You will be amazed at where this energy ended. I now it: via Cyprus, to Piatra Neamt,” Ponta said.


Videanu: the premier is wrong

Reacting to the allegations Videanu said that Victor Ponta “speaks like a fiddler” and asked him to give all the documents he has about Hidroelectrica to the pertinent institutions, or he will accuse the prime minister of concealment. According to Videanu, the Hidroelectrica document mentioned by the premier is public since 2010. While he was minister, Hidroelectrica made no electricity export, Videanu assured, adding that the PM made a mistake and actually referred to one of his meetings with trade unions and the management of Gorj-based energy companies, when it was decided to make an export via Electrica SA, which will export energy from Turceni, Rovinari and Hidroelectrica in a mix that would have allowed the use of the coal supply held by SNLO at that moment. “It was an absolutely correct decision,” Videanu mentioned, adding that the idea was to save the jobs in SNLO and the energy plants. Furthermore, Videanu added that the energy export was made at the best price established by an inter-disciplinary commission, as he had no attribution in deciding the price.

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