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Petrom, a 1.5 Billion Euros Deal

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24 Iul 2004 - 00:00

ECONOMY - July 24 2004

The contract that certifies the funding of the greatest oil company in the Central and South-Eastern Europe, the privatization contract of Petrom, has been signed yesterday. This contract is open for solutions for the most of the negotiated issues.

ADRIAN N. IONESCU

For 33.34% of the stocks of Petrom, the Austrian group OMV will pay 669 million euros, according to the contract signed yesterday. By the end of the year the company is to invest at least 723 million euros in the capital increase in order to own 51% of the stocks. OMV will also take over the external debts of Petrom valuing 292 million euros.

THE PRICE’S DETAILS. The sum invested in the capital increase could reach 860 million euros, which would lead to a total value of 1.5 billion euros for the contract. The incertitude about this sum comes from the present stock owners of Petrom, whether they will submit to this increase by paying for each stock the same sum OMV is to pay according to the privatization contract.

If one wants to compare, at the time the contract has been signed, the 33.34% stocks were valuing 757 million euros (for a currency rate of 41,063 lei per 1 euro).

NEW STRUCTURE. As expected, OMV has to manage Petrom as an integrated company that explores, produces and processes petroleum and natural gas, but that also sells the obtained products. The minimum production limit is 4.2 million tones of petroleum and 4.5 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year in the next 5 years.

On the other hand, the Governmental Resolution no. 1090/2004, which appeared on Monday, allows the formation of some Ltd Companies whose capital is to be enriched by Petrom with goods "afferent to the Refining Plant and to the Arpechim oil-chemical Complex, to the Doljchim fertilizer Plant, to the Suplacu of Barcau oil camp" or with propellant stations.

The five years programmed for the maintaining of the Romanian company’s integrated structure become less important. Formally, the structure is to be integrated, but no one knows for sure all the operations controlled by Petrom using these Ltd Companies. Only the general condition that Petrom will extract, process petroleum and sell its obtained products is to remain valid.

THE DISMISSALS AND THE ALLIANCE. This year’s collective working contract is to be abided, but everyone expects personnel changes once the investments made by OMV will impose that. "The changes are never easy, but this contract is in fact an alliance", stated Wolfgang Ruttenstorfer, the OMV president. The Prime Minister Adrian Nastase and the Minister of Economy and Commerce, Dan Ioan Popescu, also emphasized this idea. More than that, Nastase didn’t forget to go back to a former shiver making statement. "I once said that the buyer of Petrom will control the Romanian economy, so the politics, too. I’m glad that the Petrom privatization is more of a partnership and that there won’t appear any risks for the Romanian society", stated yesterday the Prime Minister.

THE EXTERNAL PERSPECTIVES. "I believe that the Petrom OMV alliance will be the most powerful oil company in this part of Europe, so the long term future of Petrom is ensured", believes Dan Ioan Popescu. OMV is already one of the companies in the oil segment with a prodigy start in the European expansion.

OMV - BUSINESS CARD

The main stock owners of the Austrian group are Austrian State Holding Company (ÖIAG) with 35%, the IPIC investment fund from Abu Dhabi with 19.6% and less significant stock owners, which own approximately 45.4% (the Austrians have 17.4%, the British 12%, the Americans 10%).

The turnover of OMV for 2003 has valued 7.64 billion euros. It is the greatest Austrian industrial company at the Vienna share market. OMV is active in 12 countries in the refining and commercializing segment. The total refining amount is 18.4 million tones per year. OMV explores and produces petroleum, the deposits being in 16 countries.

Translation: SORIN BALAN

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