Romanian Oltchim privatization gets weirder still, cash in bags to be delivered to factory, rocking out to AC/DC in negotiations

Romanian investor Dan Diaconescu, who won the bid to take over Romania’s largest chemical producer Oltchim, but who is in a middle of a media scandal as many are worried he does not have the EUR 45 million pledged for the company, said he would bring money in bags on Monday morning (October 1) to the factory. He said he would pay EUR 3 million, taken from his accounts at OTP bank, on account of due salaries for the Oltchim workers, who have been protesting in the past days asking for their overdue salaries to be paid.

Diaconescu said he would pay the money even before signing the contract with the state, which is also due today. Apart from the EUR 45 million offered by Diaconescu for Oltchim, he said he presented a financing scheme with the help of Eximbank, some USD 91 million.

The state asked the investor for an original bank statement on Friday evening, to show he has the money, but Diaconescu said that was impossible to get before the end of the week-end. Diaconescu, who owns the OTV tv station, held another round of negotiations with Romania’s Economy Ministry on Friday evening, but that ended in disagreement. The investors complained of mistakes in the contract, as well as the inappropriate behavior of those who attended the negotiations. Remus Vulpescu, the head of Office of State Ownership and Privatization in Industry (OPSPI), allegedly opened his laptop and asked the participants what sort of music they want to listen to, and played some songs, including by rock legends AC/DC.

The Government gave the investor October 1 as the deadline to bring the money for Oltchim, even though the task book gave 2013 as the deadline to pay, said Diaconescu.

Diaconescu’s win in the privatization of Oltchim has triggered debate in the media, and even comments from high level politicians, as many fear he does not have the money to take over the producer. The businessman, owner of OTV television station and also head of the political party Partidul Poporului Dan Diaconescu, offered RON 203 million for Oltchim – some EUR 45 million. He won 54.8 percent in Oltchim.

Romania’s Government approved earlier in August the privatization strategy for Oltchim Ramnicu Valcea, where the state will sell the 54.8 percent package it owns in the company, as well as the debt package held by AVAS.

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