Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Rompetrol Willing to Borrow to Repay Back Taxes to Romania

Rompetrol Group NV, Romania’s second-largest oil refiner, may issue bonds or arrange a loan if it can agree with the government on repaying back taxes, Chairman Tolegen Bozjanov said today in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

Rompetrol, which is 100 percent controlled by Astana-based KazMunaiGaz National Co., offered in January to pay part of the 515 million euros ($710 million) it owes to Romania and to use the remainder to upgrade its Petromidia refinery.

The company last year cut part of its debt by converting 1.97 billion lei ($646 million) into shares in the Petromidia refinery, giving the state a 44.7 percent stake in the unit. Rompetrol holds the remaining Petromidia shares.

The state is challenging the debt-for-equity swap, saying Rompetrol still owes it the full amount in cash or a full conversion of all debt for equity. Romania is unlikely to accept an offer by Rompetrol Group to pay back only part of its debt, Sorin Blejner, the head of the tax agency, said Feb. 25.

Rompetrol plans to turn a profit of $16 million next year, from a forecast loss of $48.3 million in 2011 and $179.3 million in 2010, according to a presentation distributed by the company in Almaty today. The company expects a profit of $124.5 million in 2015.

The purchase of Rompetrol cost $1.75 billion in two deals in 2007 and 2009, state-owned KazMunaiGaz said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Nariman Gizitdinov in Almaty atngizitdinov@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephen Voss at sev@bloomberg.net

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