Four companies interested in Romania’s Oltchim majority stake

20 September 2012 13:23  [Source: ICIS news]

BUCHAREST (ICIS)--Four companies have submitted non-binding offers for the Romanian state’s controlling 54.8% stake in chemical company Oltchim, the Ministry of the Economy, Commerce and Business Environment (MECMA) said on Thursday.

The companies are Germany’s PCC, a firm that already owns 18% of Oltchim; Romania-based AISA Invest and Chimcomplex, both part of a holding owned by Romanian businessman Stefan Vuza; and businessman and media owner, Dan Diaconescu, who said he is a representative of an unnamed company.

“Tommorow at noon we will announce the winner of the bid. The only criterion in the assessment of the binding offers will be price,” said Remus Vulpescu, the head of the economy ministry's privatisation department.

The bid deadline was delayed from Monday to Thursday this week to allow potential investors to study the offer more, after a group of small shareholders filed a law suit challenging the government's plan to sell Oltchim's debt together with its stake.

Late last month, the economy ministry decided to sell its 54.8% stake in Oltchim in one package together with debt worth of New Lei 1.79 bn ($519m, €398m). Oltchim owes the money to the state privatisation authority, AVAS, and state-owned power producer Electrica. The figure represents around 56% of Oltchim’s total debts.

Production at Oltchim has been severely restricted for over a year, with the company suffering from a lack of working capital to secure feedstock supplies.

In recent months, the Romanian government has been pushing forward with a privatisation timetable for the disposal of its majority stake, as part of a commitment to economic restructuring being carried out in consultation with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Based at Ramnicu Valcea in southern Romania, Oltchim produces caustic soda, petrochemicals, agrochemicals, inorganic products and building materials, including insulating PVC for panels, doors and window frames.

PCC and Cyprus-based Nachbar Services own 18.3% and 14.3% of Oltchim, respectively. Smaller shareholders held the balance.

($1 = €0.77)
(€1 = New Lei 4.50)

By: Marian Chiriac
+44 20 8652 3214

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