COMPANIES ECONOMY ENERGY

Austria’s OMV Group could lose majority shareholder position within Petrom

+Neither the company nor Romanian authorities registered the increase of OMV Petrom’s registered capital by the value of the plots of land it owns

 

This is not the first time when the Romanian Court of Accounts points out that Austria’s OMV Group and the Romanian state’s competent authorities are not implementing the measures ordered since 2009, measures concerning the increase of OMV Petrom’s registered capital by the value of the plots of land owned by the company.

Romania’s Petrom was privatized in 2004, when Austria’s OMV Group bought 51 per cent of the Romanian company’s shares. According to the Court of Accounts, the Romanian law forces companies to hike their capital by the value of the land they become owners of. In 2014, OMV Petrom received an ultimatum from the Romanian authorities, asking it to increase its registered capital by including in it the value of the plots of land owned.

In the 2015 report, the institution noted that the operation was not completed. Moreover, there is a new series of problems. Thus, the Court of Accounts noted “failure, on the part of the institution with prerogatives in the privatization domain, to monitor the way in which the Buyer respected the obligation it committed to through Privatization Contract no.5/2004, namely of ‘making all reasonable efforts to determine the Company to properly prepare the necessary paperwork and to file requests to obtain all certificates attesting the ownership right over the plots of land undergoing clarification, in line with the law and in due time, in order to carry out the registered capital increases.’”

Simultaneously, the Court of Accounts shows that Petrom did not respect Article 12, Paragraph 3 of law no.137/2002, according to which “company managers have to request the registration of the registered capital increase at the Trade Registry Office within 30 days from the date on which the land ownership certificate is issued.” The document points out that some progress was made but on one hand Petrom did not obtain a certificate for all plots of land it received for use, and on the other hand the registered capital was not increased by having the plots of land for which it obtained ownership deeds included in it, the ‘adevarulfinanciar’ publication shows.

In order to carry out the measures ruled by the Court of Accounts, the General Directorate for the Privatization and Management of State Participations in the Energy Sector presented two documents it received from Petrom. The documents confirm that an inventory of all plots of land contracted out by the Romanian state was carried out. The former Department for Energy (now the Energy Ministry – editor’s note) wrote in 2014 a memorandum titled “The stage of hiking the registered capital by the value of ownership certificates obtained by SC OMV Petrom SA,” a memorandum it presented within the Government too.

However, the Court of Accounts shows that the overtures made no headway. On 1 July 2014, the value of the plots of land owned by OMV Petrom stood at EUR 20 M. If this value were to be included in the registered capital, then OMV Group would risk losing the 51 per cent share it currently has within Petrom.

 

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