Friday, November 19, 2010

Romania’s Ariton Says No ‘Rush’ in Petrom Stake Sale

Romania doesn’t want to “rush” the sale of a 9.84 percent stake in the Balkan nation’s largest oil company, OMV Petrom SA, as it seeks to get a “very good” price, Economy Minister Ion Aritonsaid.

The sale is part of a program that needs to be reassessed, Artion told reporters in Bucharest. The Economy Ministry is currently selecting a legal adviser before picking a brokerage to manage the sale on the Bucharest Stock Exchange.

Romania plans to sell minority holdings of its utilities and of Petrom to meet international bailout conditions and cover infrastructure investments. The country is relying on a 20 billion-euro ($27 billion) loan led by the International Monetary Fund after the nation’s recession and austerity measures reduced budget revenue.

“I don’t want to rush the stake sale because we want to obtain very good prices,” Ariton said. “We don’t have a time limit for the Petrom stake sale.”

Petrom wants to raise as much as 600 million euros by selling shares to maintain funds for investments, estimated at 6.9 billion lei ($2.2 billion) this year and at as much as 5 billion euros in the next five years. The Chief Executive Officer of OMV AG, Wolfgang Ruttenstorfer said on Nov.10 that the company may extend Petrom’s authorization to carry out a share sale past an initial term of April 2011. OMV will wait for a decision by Romania before it considers carrying out a share sale at Petrom, he said.

Romania also plans to sell a minority stake in natural gas producer Romgaz SA via the stock exchange next year, Ariton said today. The ministry plans to finish selling minority stakes in utilities Transgaz SA and Transelectrica SA in 2001 as it raises money to finance the budget, Ariton said in an e-mailed response to Bloomberg questions on Nov 12.

Romania may raise more than 2 billion euros from the energy-stake sales, former Economy Minister Adriean Videanu said on Aug. 19.

The Balkan nation has sufficient natural-gas storage to cover the consumption this winter, while the prices paid by the households should not increase, Ariton said today.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andra Timu in Bucharest at atimu@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Alan Crosby at acrosby1@bloomberg.net

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