01 October 2010 10:17 [Source: ICIS news]
BUCHAREST (ICIS)--The shareholders of oil refiner Rompetrol have given the Romanian state a 44.69% stake in Petromidia refinery after converting a Lei 1.97bn ($629m/€461m) debt into shares, a government official said on Friday.
"The decision is set to anger the Romanian government which was counting on the cash to gap a bulging public deficit," a government official, who did not wish to be named, said.
The move would be challenged by the Romanian government, which has previously demanded that Rompetrol pays back its debt in full.
Following the decision of the company's shareholders, Rompetrol Group would hold 42.4% of the shares in the refinery, while the remaining stake would be held by minority shareholders. The government's deadline on the debt payback was 30 September.
Rompetrol is majority owned by Kazahstan state-run company KazMunaiGaz.
The Romanian government converted debt from unpaid taxes into bonds carrying interest in 2003 after businessman Dinu Patriciu bought the state-owned refinery, which was later sold to the Astana-based company.
Rompetrol previously said it would not be able to repay all of the bonds after the group posted a net loss of $100m in the first half of this year. Early this month Romanian fiscal authorities put under distraint some of Rompetrol's assets as a precautionary measure related to unpaid debts.
($1 = Lei 3.13, €1 = Lei 4.27)
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