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May 27, 22:40

EC raises questions about Oltchim’s privatization in Romania

The European Commission EC has asked Romania a series of clarifications regarding the privatization of Romanian chemical producer Oltchim. There are some suspicions that the state doesn’t act like a private investor. The EC has also asked about the Arpechim takeover from Petrom, a transaction that might benefit the oil company, Bogdan Chiritoiu, president of the Competition Council, told local Agerpres.

‘There is the suspicion that the acquisition of Arpechim from Petrom could benefit Petrom, because, under these conditions, Petrom would get rid of some very costly obligations with the closing of the refinery, such as the decontamination of the area,” said Chiritoiu.

In the case of Oltchim’s privatization, the EC has asked the Romanian state to prove that is acting as a private shareholder. “The Commission asks explanations regarding the fact that, although Oltchim has debts at the state, the state doesn’t apply an enforcement, as any creditor should do, and this raises questions about a possible state aid,” added Chiritoiu, cited by Agerpres.

Oltchim entered insolvency in January 2013. After several delays, the privatization term was set for December this year.

The company narrowed its loss to RON 114.5 million (over EUR 25 million) in the first half of 2014, down 22 percent year-on-year. In January-June 2013, the company registered a loss of RON 147.4 million.

Irina Popescu, irina.popescu@romania-insider.com

 

 

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