Romania’s Oltchim restarts PO and polyols units

16 November 2012 13:46  [Source: ICIS news]

BUCHAREST (ICIS)--Romanian petrochemical and plastics manufacturer Oltchim has restarted its propylene oxide (PO) and polyether polyols units following months of restricted production, the company said on Friday.

Each unit has a capacity of around 120,000 tonnes/year. "Oltchim is working now at 30 per cent of its current capacity. Around 1,200 people are now back to work after their remaining salaries for last two months were finally paid," said Corneliu Cernev, a company representative.

On 22 October Oltchim restarted its 120,300 dry metric tonne (dmt)/year liquid caustic soda unit, after the Romanian government announced plans to begin negotiations with local banks to secure a loan of around €10m ($12.8m) to enable it to resume activity at the majority state-owned chemical company.

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 employees protesting over unpaid salaries.

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

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.

In recent months, the 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  polyvinyl chloride (PVC) for panels, doors and window frames.

($1 = €0.78)

By: Marian Chiriac
+44 20 8652 3214

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