Romanian Entrepreneur Diaconescu Wins Oltchim Stake Auction

Romanian media entrepreneur Dan Diaconescu won a bidding contest for a majority stake in Oltchim SA (OLT) today, as the country seeks to meet pledges to international lenders by the end of this month.

Diaconescu, 44, a politician who owns broadcaster OTV, will pay about 203 million lei ($59 million) for the government’s 54.8 percent stake in the chemical company, Remus Vulpescu, who heads the Economy Ministry’s state-asset sales agency, told reporters in Bucharest today. The other bidders were Germany’s PCC SE, a minority shareholder in Oltchim and Romanian companies Aisa Invest SA and Chimcomplex SA.

“We plan to sign the purchase contract on Monday,” Vulpescu said. “We are counting on the offer’s accuracy and on a fast payment.”

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. Romania also needs to cut overdue local authority debt and increase natural gas prices, the fund’s Mission Chief Erik de Vrijer said on Aug. 14.

Arpechim Refinery

The buyer will also have the option to purchase OMV Petrom SA (SNP)’s Arpechim refinery after negotiating terms with Romania’s biggest oil company. OMV AG (OMV), Petrom’s majority owner, signed an accord to sell the Arpechim refinery to Oltchim’s buyer, Prime Minister Victor Ponta said on Sept. 18.

“We are counting on the state to help us acquire the Arpechim refinery and develop Oltchim,” Diaconescu said.

Romania had also planned to sell about 250 million euros ($325 million) in Oltchim debt and debt to power supplier Electrica SA of 150 million euros, according to Vulpescu. None of the buyers submitted bids for debt to the state.

Chimcomplex filed a bid for the debt to Electrica of 202.6 million lei which was rejected because it was lower than the minimum price, Vulpescu said.

To contact the reporters on this story: Andra Timu in Bucharest at atimu@bloomberg.net; Irina Savu in Bucharest at isavu@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James M. Gomez at jagomez@bloomberg.net

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