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March 25, 2023

GFR demands declassification of CFR Marfa privatisation contract

The privatisation commission of the state company hides behind the opinion of the Competition Council because it did not fulfil its obligations, businessman Gruia Stoica says in a press release
Grup Feroviar Roman (GFR) yesterday asked the Ministry of Transportation (MT) to make public the contract for the sale of the majority stake in CFR Marfa, also demanding the direct involvement of Transportation minister Ramona Manescu, in order to avoid a failure of the privatisation.
“As a buyer, GFR, which has fulfilled all its obligations honestly and in time, considers that the attitude of the Privatisation Commission was of nature of damaging its good faith, the interests and financial efforts it made for the success of this privatisation of strategic importance for the Romanian state. However, GRF is still willing to collaborate with the Ministry of Transportation in view of identifying together the legal ways that could avoid the failure of a tender that would damage the economic environment and would discourage foreign investments. Grup Feroviar Roman relies on the support of the leadership of the Ministry of Transportation in order to avert this situation,” reads a communique issued by GFR, the company controlled by businessman Gruia Stoica. Under the government decision on the privatisation of CFR Marfa, the deadline of the process is today and has not been pushed back by the government.
GFR now considers that the privatisation commission invokes the deadline for obtaining the approval of the Competition Council as a reason for an anticipated failure of the transaction, in order to hide that it obviously has not fulfilled its obligations.
“On this occasion, we assure that GFR has not requested any extension of the deadline. The Privatisation Commission repeatedly avoided giving clear answers to our requests, which date back from 30 August 2013 (and repeated on 4 October 2013) regarding the present situation of the approvals issued by the lender banks of CFR Marfa about the change of the shareholding structure of the company,” reads the communique issued by GFR.

MT proposals, “unacceptable”

“Regretfully I must say that, until the last moment, Friday (October 11), when we were urgently called to the ministry in view of solving the impasse generated by the inability of the privatisation commission to timely fulfil its obligations, the attitude of the commission was one which we consider as unacceptable towards a serious investor. We went to discuss and seek solutions to the seller’s problems, not to ours, and the proposals which they made are absolutely inacceptable and cannot be taken seriously by a responsible company, which already paid EUR 30 M (10 pc of the transaction) for this privatisation,” Gruia Stoica affirms.
The annex to the act provides that the transfer of the property right over the 51 pc stake is achieved when five conditions are cumulatively met: the completion by the buyer of the conversion of the claims held by the state upon the company at the date when the contract is signed and the finalisation of the social capital structure of the company following this operation; the obtaining by the seller, from the company’s domestic and foreign lenders, of an agreement regarding the modification of the shareholding structure of the company, as an effect of the closing of the contract; the crediting of the seller’s account with all the sums owed by the buyer and the signing of the statement regarding the transfer of the property right upon the package of shares in the shareholders and shares registry of the company.
The Competition Council was unable to issue the approval yet and explained that it will begin the analysis only after it will receive from GFR some information that is missing from the notification submitted two weeks ago.
Minister of Transportation Ramona Manescu said Friday in Constanta that the privatisation deadline of CFR Marfa on Monday cannot be pushed back, adding that she does not want to speak now about a failure of the privatisation of the company, Mediafax reports. Ramona Manescu mentioned that she consulted PM Victor Ponta over the privatisation of CFR Marfa and she hopes that the money will be paid Monday. As for a possible failure of the privatisation of CFR Marfa, the Transportation Minister said that she does not believe one can speak about failure, as long as both sides fulfilled their obligations.
GFR underscores that it still wants the finalisation of the privatisation of CFR Marfa, but it does not consider it is possible, as “the seller wants to avoid doing its responsibilities and force the buyer to accept abusive conditions, non-conform to the letter and spirit of the privatisation contract.”

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