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Romania Is ‘Satisfied’ With Interest in Nuclear Utility Sale

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Sept. 19 (Bloomberg) -- Romania is “satisfied” with the interest in the sale of utility Nuclearelectrica SA before the country’s first initial public offering in five years ends tomorrow, said Gabriel Dumitrascu, in charge of state-asset sales at the government’s energy department.

The administration seeks to raise at least 284 million lei ($86 million) from the sale of 25.4 million shares, or a 10 percent stake in the nuclear-power operator, according to the Bucharest Stock Exchange’s website. The government set a price range of 11.2 lei and 15 lei per share in the IPO, which started on Sept. 9.

“We’re satisfied and optimistic about today and tomorrow,” Dumitrascu told reporters in Bucharest today. “We’re comfortable” with the level of demand for the shares.

The sale is part of the nation’s accord with the International Monetary Fund and the European Union to list minority stakes in its energy companies to raise funds to cover its budget deficit and attract investors.

The eastern European country, which sold a 15 percent stake in natural-gas grid operator Transgaz SA in April, plans to sell a further stake in natural-gas producer Romgaz SA by the end of November, Dumitrascu said today. It may raise as much as 220 million euros ($298 million) from the Romgaz sale on the Bucharest Stock Exchange and the remainder to about 600 million euros from shares wrapped up in global depositary receipts sold on the London Stock Exchange, he said.

Nuclear Expansion

Romania is one of the few countries in Europe, along with the Czech Republic, that still plan to continue nuclear power expansion. Nuclearelectrica holds the majority stake in a planned project to build two new nuclear reactors at its Cernavoda plant near the Black Sea. The project was abandoned by GDF Suez SA, RWE AG and Iberdrola SA in 2011.

The government plans to sell 10 percent of shares in Nuclearelectrica’s IPO to small investors, 5 percent to large investors and 85 percent to institutions, according to the sale prospectus.

“Because the tranche for small investors is six times oversubscribed already and this is the first IPO in five years and external environment is favorable, my estimates are that the sale will be successful,” Dumitru Beze, chairman of the Romanian Capital Market Investors’ Association, said in Bucharest today. “This will pave the way for the next listings and I’m sure we will next see the 500 million-euro offer of Romgaz this year.”

Romanian brokerages Swiss Capital SA and BT Securities SA are managing the sale.

To contact the reporter on this story: 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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