Romania's Oltchim restarts liquid caustic soda unit

22 October 2012 14:01  [Source: ICIS news]

BUCHAREST (ICIS)--Oltchim has restarted its 120,300 dmt/year liquid caustic soda unit following months of restricted production, the Romanian petrochemical and plastics manufacturer said on Monday.

The unit is the first one to be opened after late this month the Romanian government announced plans to begin negotiations with local banks to secure a loan of around €10m ($13m) to enable it to resume activity at majority state-owned chemical company Oltchim.

Production at Oltchim has been severely restricted for more than a year as a result of a lack of working capital to secure feedstock supplies.

Since early September, there have been several demonstrations at Oltchim by company employees protesting over unpaid salaries.

Furthermore, the government will seek to privatise Oltchim via direct negotiation with a major investor, subject to approval from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) with which the country has a financial agreement.

This would avoid the public auction route that recently failed.

The government cancelled the privatisation of Oltchim on 1 October, saying a Romanian investor had not provided documents to prove he had the money to buy the majority stake he had won.

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

By: Marian Chiriac
+44 20 8652 3214

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