Monday, March 17, 2008

Romania To Privatize Rail Cargo Firm CFR Marfa

BUCHAREST (AFP)--Romania plans to privates its rail freight company CFR Marfa in a deal that could raise up to EUR1 billion for state coffers, Transport Minister Ludovic Orban said Thursday.

Bucharest has yet to decide how to proceed with the privatization, either by auction or via direct negotiations with an investor, the minister said.

"We hope to find a company with sizable revenues and the capacity to invest" in the modernization of the state-owned company, he said.

To ensure that the sale is in line with European Union rules, the minister said he would ask the European Commission for its opinion beforehand.

The ministry's secretary general, Dragos Tanasoiu, said the government could suspend the privatization process if the price offered was below EUR1 billion.

Two European investment funds had so far expressed an interest in CFR Marfa, Tanasoiu said, without revealing their names.

CFR Marfa holds a 90% share of the Romanian rail freight market and booked revenues of around EUR500 million in 2006.

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