Sale value of Romania’s Oltchim could be ‘zero’ if refinery stays shut

21 March 2012 16:17  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--Privatisation officials fear indebted Romanian chemical company Oltchim could be worth nothing if a solution for restarting its key feedstock supplier, the Arpechim refinery, is not found, a source at the country's Ministry of the Economy, Commerce and Business Environment (MECMA) said on Wednesday.

“You will have seen from the privatisation announcement that bidders are encouraged to negotiate with Arpechim’s owner, OMV Petrom, to find a way of keeping it operational, perhaps by buying it at a generous price,” the MECMA official said.

“If that can be achieved, then Oltchim could be worth a few hundred million euros. If not, its value could be put at zero, the future would be difficult,” he added.

With the Arpechim feedstock chain not functioning, Oltchim has since the middle of last year been producing at sharply reduced rates while it has kept nearly 1,000 workers in temporary unemployment.

To date, the only company to have publicly announced its attention to bid for MECMA’s 54.8% stake in Oltchim is Germany’s PCC, a firm that already owns 18% of Oltchim and has spent the past three years battling its management over strategy.

Three other investors are, however, showing interest in acquiring control of Oltchim, according to the MECMA source.

These are Russian infrastructure, energy production, investment company and Gazprom subsidiary TISE (Technologies Investments Services Energy), investment entity Forte of the United Arab Emirates and Rompet Rogas of Romania, he said.

Oltchim’s main products are polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polyols, dioctyl phthalate (DOP) and caustic soda.

By: Will Conroy
+44 20 8652 3214

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