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Romania to Sign Privatisation Contract for SNP Petrom with OMV

The Romanian Government said it would sign the privatisation contract for SNP Petrom with Austria's OMV. Earlier this month the government passed the contractual terms for the privatisation of the country's largest oil company, Petrom. The privatisation strategy for Petrom stipulates that a 33.34% share package will be sold to a strategic investor, who will later increase its stake to over 51% through a capital increase.

Romanian authorities have selected Austrian-based oil company OMV as the only bidder qualified to enter final negotiations, thus rejecting the bids submitted by Hungarian-based MOL and US-based Occidental Petroleum. Sources with Romania's Ministry of Economy and Trade said the overall price of the deal would be around one billion dollars, including the price of the shares sold to OMV and the amount necessary for the capital increase.

The EBRD board is to decide on Tuesday if would agree on a Petrom debt for equity swap. Last year, Petrom received a $150m loan from a western consortium led by the EBRD to modernise its crude oil refining facilities and to prepare the company for privatisation. The loan accord stipulates that the lender may swap the debt for a 5% stake in the oil company. Petrom is 93% property of the Romanian State, with the remaining 7% traded on the Bucharest Stock Exchange.

Petrom operates some 600 gas stations and produces some six million tons of oil and six billion cubic meters of natural gas per year. The company controls two refineries: Arpechim and Petrobrazi.

(NewsBase 23.vii.04)

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