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September 25, 2021

Dan Diaconescu, Oltchim’s new owner. Privatisation success questioned

The RON 203.1 M winning bid was placed by the president of PP-DD for the shares. If the privatisation is unsuccessful, the Government will resort to Plan B.

The auction for the sale of 54.8 per cent of the shares of Oltchim Ramnicu Valcea plant was successfully completed on Friday, PP-DD President Diaconescu being declared the winner. However, the tension and difference beginning the day before – the deadline for bidding – continued during the entire auction procedure. Dan Diaconescu offered RON 203.1 M for the Oltchim stock, a lot more than the bids of the other three interested buyers. ‘We offered EUR 45 M (the equivalent of the RON bid  – A/N) with no strings attached and we would like to convince the authorities to be lent to the company to be used to finance the wage fund and for the working capital, Diaconescu said. German group PCC offered RON 40 M for the shares on sale as well as the plant’s debt towards AVAS and Electrica combined, but was the first to be removed from the game as it had not placed individual bids as well. Businessman Stefan Vuza offered RON 30 M for the Oltchim stock, through the AISA Invest investment company. Through another company he owns, Chimcomplex Borzesti, operating in the same chemical field, he offered RON 18.8 M for the stock and little over RON 202 M for the Electrica receivables. His bid for the shares was smaller than Diaconescu’s and the one for the receivables was below the Electrica minimum asking price. The privatisation process was spectacular in itself, dotted with allegations coming from all sides. Dan Diaconescu accused the head of the Office for State Assets and Privatisation in Industry (OPSPI) of being engaged in secret agreements with minority shareholder PCC and of having illegally opened the enveloped containing the initial bids. Both allegations turned out to be erroneous. PM Victor Ponta gave Dan Diaconescu some tough warnings in Targu Mures on Friday, saying that he expected the winner of the auction for the privatisation of Oltchim Ramnicu Valcea to produce the money in no more than ten days, adding that, if it didn’t happen, that would be a criminal offence. Victor Adam, Chairman and CEO of TransGas Development Systems, a company operating in the energy sector, is reportedly behind the new Oltchim chemical plant owner, Dan Diaconescu, Romania TV reports. According to the TransGas Development Systems website, the company mission is to convert the important US coal reserves into gasoline.

Russian investors still interested

The prime minister said the government also had a backup option if the privatisation organised on Friday did not concretise. Visiting Slatina on Saturday, on the tenth anniversary of the buying of steel pipe producer Artrom by Russian company TMK, Victor Ponta said he would have liked to see a Russian investor in Oltchim as well. Economy Minister Daniel Chitoiu, also attending the event, said TISE company of Russia had showed an interest in the state’s Oltchim stock and even sent a letter of intent in the spring. ‘The money will e wired on Monday and it will be received into the Oltchim accounts on Wednesday, for paying salaries and financing working capital’, said OPSPI chief Remus Vulpescu, after announcing the winning bid. Diaconescu stepped in saying he could not give a guarantee that the agreement would be definitely signed on Monday as he still needed to study ‘a series of elements’. As he said himself, for raising the sum, Diaconescu counts on the Romanian people, but also on ‘the biggest petrochemical producer in the world’ who would buy the Oltchim goods. However, he never disclosed any details on the subject. ‘I am keeping (the name – A/N) for December 5, 6, 7’, Diaconescu said shortly before the election due on December 9. Vulpescu replied that the agreement could also be signed that afternoon or even on Tuesday, but no later than Wednesday, as the money needed to enter into the Oltchim accounts. The auction documents however stipulate that the agreement may be signed by February 2013. Therefore, analysis say, the whole privatisation process may well extend during four to five months. Vulpescu also said Diaconescu would only take actual possession of his Oltchim shares after the Competition Council states that the transaction is not creating any economic concentration issues.

Electrica and AVAS EUR 400 M receivables not sold

OPSPI did not manage to sell on Friday AVAS and Electrica receivables worth approximately EUR 400 M because the Chimcomplex bid was below the minimum asking price set by the energy supplier and because no bid was placed for the AVAS receivables. Chimcomplex offered to buy Electrica’s receivables for RON 202 M. However, the actual Electrica receivable from Oltchim is approximately EUR 250 M and AVAS’ – nearly EUR 250 M. Oltchim’s total debt amounts to roughly EUR 700 M. AVAS President Marius Obreja says a conversion of AVAS’ receivables into shares would give the state over 90 per cent control of the company, Mediafax says.



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