Hundreds of workers at Romanian state-owned chemical company Oltchim SA (OLT) staged a protest as the government holds talks with media entrepreneur Dan Diaconescu to keep the agreement for a majority stake from collapsing.
About 500 Oltchim employees gathered in front of the chemical company’s headquarters in the southern city of Ramnicu Valcea to demonstrate against unpaid salaries and a halt in production triggered by the lack of working capital, according to private television station Realitatea TV.
Diaconescu, 44, a politician and owner of broadcaster OTV, won an auction on Sept. 24 to buy the state’s 54.8 percent stake in Oltchim and promised to pay about 203 million lei ($58 million) in a contract that needs to be signed by Oct. 1. Prime Minister Victor Ponta said Diaconescu lacks the money.
The Cabinet will place Oltchim into special administration should Diaconescu fail to secure the funding for the stake and sign the purchase contract by the deadline.
Romania pledged to sell its holding in Oltchim and a minority stake in Transgaz SA (TGN), the country’s natural-gas grid operator, by the end of this month to get the International Monetary Fund’s approval to unlock the next tranche of its precautionary accord. The fund’s Washington-based board will meet on Sept. 28.
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