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February 8, 2023

CFR Marfa privatisation on halt

The sale proceedings of Romania’s rail freight operator  CFR Marfa has been brought to a stop and would not progress further by the end of this year, given it hasn’t got the nod from the Supreme Council of National Defence (CSAT), Transport Deputy Secretary Horatiu Buzatu told a press conference Wednesday evening. “The last okay was supposed to come from the CSAT. (…) We have received a press release saying CSAT had been informed,” Buzatu said, who added that the ministry would be quite keen to learn what the Council’s objections are actually. The process had got the nod from the Ministries of Finance, Administration and Interior, National Defense, justice and from the Competition Council. “What we deal with here is the state institutions’ inability to answer the challenges and necessities of the moment,” Buzatu said.The Transport Ministry official emphasized that the CFR Marfa privatization process is not deadlocked, but only halted or slowed down. Asked how the process could be completed by year’s end, Buzatu admitted that could be a problem, and added that in CFR Marfa’s case, the private management alternative would only act as a palliative and a surrogate to privatisation.The CFR Marfa privatisation strategy project has been modified recently, with government significantly relaxing the conditions imposed on potential investors surrounding the quantum of the guarantee and tender participation tax, as it also did in Oltchim’s case.The government is going to sell by open-outcry tender 100 pc of the share capital of CFR Marfa, along with the state-held stake resulted from the company debts’ conversion into shares and the offsetting of the debts CFR Marfa owes to CFR S.A. The ministry announced it assumes responsibility for putting CFR Marfa into private hands by this coming December, which it would happen even in the worst-case scenario.

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