ECONOMY - July 20 2004The Italians from ENEL signed yesterday the privatization contract for the Electrica Banat and Dobrogea subsidiaries. The officials tried hard to prove that the transaction is a success, especially the price of the selling.
ADRIAN N. IONESCU
"We are going to invest almost a billion euros in Romania in the natural gas segment as well as in the electricity one", stated Vincenzo Cantanelli, the vice president of the Italian group. He said that they donât want to restructure the personnel in a major manner, even if the number of the employees "seems large" in comparison to Italy and other European states.
THE DEBTSâ GAME. Popescu, the Minister of Economy and Commerce, as well as Herv Hascoit, director at BNP Paribass (the privatization consultant), insisted on the way one can easily compare the selling price of the two Electrica subsidiaries with similar firms in the Central and Eastern Europe. The Romanian officials and the French consultant say that ENEL also took over the debts of the sold subsidiaries having a total value of 98 million euros, debts that are included in the selling price. This price reaches this way 223 euros per consumer for Electrica Banat and 220 euros per consumer for Dobrogea. Ten months ago, the Italians werenât paying more than 50 euros per consumer.
On the other hand Hascoit says that, from the very beginning, the price hasnât been the main goal of the privatization process. "Our priority has been the attainment of a larger price, in order that the privatization impact on the tariffs will be minimum, and the investments the greatest", explains Dan Ioan Popescu.
THE INVESTMENTS AND THE PRICE LIST The computation of the electricity tariffs for the future includes the so called rate for the paying of the invested capital. The bigger this rate is the more expensive the current is. The ratio negotiated with ENEL is 12% in the first three years and 10% in the next, which, according to the authorities, would increase the tariffs with 4.5% at most. Bulgaria got 14.2%, Poland 23.6% and Ukraine 17.9% says the Romanian officialsâ chorus and the French consultant, emphasizing that asking a greater price for the Electrica stocks would have lead to a considerable increase of the tariffs.
The effective takeover of the property will be finalized until the 29th of November. "More legislative accommodation steps will succeed, and they include the ones concerning the granting and dismissals regime", stated the Economy Minister.
Electrica Banat and Electrica Dobrogea have approximately 1.4 billion consumers and cover almost 20% of the energy distribution in Romania.
Translation: SORIN BALAN