BUSINESS

Oltchim case could reoccur if justice does not react, PM Ponta warns

The employees have renounced protest. Privatisation chief Remus Vulpescu has resigned. Also, new Oltchim Manager Mihai Balan promises to put the company back on its feet and workers will get their pay.  OPSPI was to file a complaint with the Prosecutor’s Office against Dan Diaconescu for the alleged commission of continued fraud by deceit.

Victor Ponta said he wanted the justice system to do its job with regard to the criminal complaint filed by the Government against Dan Diaconescu in the Oltchim case, showing that offences such as those incriminated there would reoccur if the judiciary had no reaction. ‘Apart from the breaking of laws, that’s a defiance and indecent conduct towards the Oltchim people without a precedent in our 22 years of democracy,’ Ponta said during the Cabinet meeting. The Office for State Assets and Privatisation in Industry (OPSPI) was going to file a complaint with the Prosecutor’s Office yesterday against Dan Diaconescu for the alleged commission of continued fraud by deceit and unlawful acquisition of the quality of winner of the auction for the privatisation of the Oltchim Arnica-Valcea chemical group, reads a release from the Ministry of Economy. ‘The intention of Diaconescu Cristian-Dan of misapplying the privatisation procedure by public deceit and uttering, for the purpose of obtaining notoriety and possible for other purposes still to be determined by the authorities was not predictable and could not be formally noted before October 1, when the criminal activity of Diaconescu Cristian-Dan was stopped,’ the release further states.Also yesterday, the head of the Office for State Assets and Privatisation in Industry (OPSPI), Remus Vulpescu, Remus Vulpescu, resigned yesterday, publicly expressing his regret for the failure of the Oltchim privatisation, an Economy Ministry release says. At the same time, the new General Manager of Oltchim Ramnicu Valcea, Mihai Balan, said he would talk to the crediting banks and try to obtain the unlocking of his company accounts in order to be able to restart installations and pay overdue salaries within two weeks.

‘I know for a fact that tomorrow (Thursday) Mr. Victor Ponta will make a statement on the Oltchim financing plan. I will talk to the banks and try to convince them to unlock the accounts so that we can pay salaries; I will ask for time out. I must find a way to deal with this and restart Oltchim,’ Mihai Balan said. The in-coming Oltchim manager said the company would need to regain lost markets, as many agreements had been lost by stopping production. He further noted that there would be restructuring in the following six months. According to him, the price of district heating in Ramnicu Valcea would not go up this coming winter. ‘Oltchim will start operating again, people will get their money. That’s my mission and I will accomplish it,’ the new Oltchim head further stated.The employees of Oltchim Ramnicu Valcea have renounced protest, the acting leading of the Free Trade Union of the company, Corneliu Cernev, informed yesterday. He also noted that the workers would receive the advance payment for August starting with October 5 and the rest of their wages up to date by October 17. ‘The new General Manager of Oltchim, Mihai Balan, will be at Olchim at all times, he will not be travelling to Bucharest or elsewhere, things will be dealt with right here,’ he said. He also informed that, by October 12, the new manager would present the plan for redressing the activity of the plant and discuss it with the representatives of the employees.

Gov’t wants IMF’s agreement for selling Oltchim by direct negotiation with investor

The Government will ask the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the European Commission (EC) for their approval to conduct the new Oltchim privatisation through direct negotiation with a strategic investor rather than open auction where anyone may participate, PM Victor Ponta said Tuesday evening. Invited to B1 TV, the PM noted that such a strategic investor would need to take over the plant’s debt, commit to keeping existing jobs, implement investment and engage in negotiations for taking over Arpechim. He admitted to the fact that Oltchim’s debt towards AVAS would have to be dealt with before a new privatisation process could begin. The premier also stressed the fact that he would like to have an American, British or French investor for Oltchim, but added that investors in those countries already had their own facilities and that the Russian TISE group was the only one that had shown any concrete interest in the Romanian company. As for the new Oltchim management, the PM pointed out he expected it to terminate all existing agreements with ‘plague-companies’, restart these departments that were able to provide ‘realistic’ production and not produce stocks  and cooperate with the consultant in the process of writing off company debts and preparing a new privatisation attempt. Asked who had authored the governmental plan for ‘rescuing’ Oltchim, the prime minister answered most of that plan was the responsibility of the Minister of Finance, Florin Georgescu, who also had the support of the economy minister.

Price of Oltchim stock drops following failed privatisation

Oltchim (OLT) stock started being traded again yesterday after eight exchange sessions when they had been suspended, and suffered a decrease by 12.37 per cent following the failed privatisation, also in the context of a slightly declining overall market. The Stock Exchange had suspended the Oltchim shares from trading on September 20, before the term by which OPSPI had accepted bids for the privatisation of the chemical group in Ramnicu-Valcea.  As soon as it had started being traded again, Oltchim stock dropped by 12.37 per cent to RON 0.5705 /unit, with transactions reaching RON 67,000 after the first ten minutes of trading. The other BVB stocks suffered some minor corrections, in the context of small volume trading.

 

 

 

 

 

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