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February 1, 2023

CFR Marfa privatisation unsuccessful as GFR fails to pay

Ponta-Presidency row over DNA involvement.
Representatives of the Commission set by the Ministry of Transportation for the privatisation of CFR Marfa yesterday met officials of Grup Feroviar Roman, for talks over the completion of the transaction. By the closing of this newspaper issue the CFR Marfa privatisation seemed to have failed. According to realitatea.net GFR did not pay the money due to conclude the privatisation, blaming the government for not meeting certain obligations. The deadline was on Monday.
GFR had paid the guarantee of EUR 10 M and an advance payment of EUR 20 M, representing some 10 per cent of the transaction value. GFR had won the auction for CFR Marfa privatisation in June by offering a total value of EUR 202 M for 51 per cent of shares.
During the negotiations yesterday, GFR owner Gruia Stoica asked for a new meeting, at the privatisation commission, with the minister of Transportation, Ramona Manescu as arbitrator, “in view of precisely stating which obligations of the contract were observed by the seller and which were not.” The owner of GFR added that he made yesterday a new request to declassify the privatisation contract, which he submitted to minister Manescu, “in order to see that we received no form of favouring treatment.”
The businessman added that one cannot talk about monopoly after the takeover of CFR Marfa by its main competitor in the market, because the reference market is not the freight transport on railway, but freight transport in general, which includes road carriers. “We speak of transported volume, not just the railroad. Road transporters have a volume of 220 million tons, while the railway only 50 million tons,” Stoica explained.

PM Ponta: Basescu gave order to the DNA and civil servants are afraid; Presidency: Those who infringed the law should be afraid

Premier Victor Ponta said Monday, at Iasi, referring to CFR Marfa, that if in August President Traian Basescu “could not sleep well from fear that CFR will be given away, and now from fear that it will not be given, this is a big catastrophe.” Asked about who will take responsibility for a possible failure of the privatisation of CFR Marfa, Ponta answered: “Whoever you want. On B1 (TV) it will be blamed on the USL government.” He added that he does not know the provisions of the contract, which is not among his attributions as premier. PM Ponta continued and said that giving order to prosecutors entered Basescu’s blood, telling that this is”absolutely abnormal” and the president does not understand what is happening in Romania.
Also, Premier Ponta said Sunday that “after the president ordered the DNA to round them all” civil servants are “afraid.” In retort, the Presidency said, through Bogdan Oprea, spokesman of the president, that civil servants and high-ranking officials, including the premier, must observe the law.
According to the presidential spokesman, “if a civil servant, a member of the government or even the prime minister infringed the law, then they have all reasons to be afraid,” Bogdan Oprea said.
“Prime-minister Victor-Viorel Ponta must understand that the civil servants and high officials, even the prime minister of the government of Romania, do not enjoy protection against state institutions when they infringe the rigor of laws and the conditions for the privatisation of a large company,” the presidential spokesman stated.
President Traian Basescu said that anyone who sees how the privatisation process of CFR Marfa is conducted can consider that, sooner or later, it will be the target of a probe.
In his turn, former premier Emil Boc believes that the privatisation of CFR Marfa will be failure, saying that, according to Murphy’s Law, “what begins bad ends worse,” realitatea.net reports. The solution for CFR Marfa would be “a correct privatisation, in the public interest, not in the interest of politicians,” he added.

AOAR: Discriminatory attitude towards the Romanian investor

Cristian Parvan, the secretary general of the Romanian Businessmen’s Association (AOAR) said on Digi24 that the privatisation of CFR is conducted bureaucratically, without a strategy from the government. “We do not understand how Romanian investors are treated, which upsets us. We said it outright, we have Romanian entrepreneurs willing to take over the responsibility of the management. We have a discriminatory attitude towards the Romanian investor,” he explained.

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