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What the newspapers say: August 28, 2007

Marţi, 28 august 2007, 0:00

The sale of 75% of Romanian oil company Rompetrol to Kazakh group KazMunayGaz absorbs the attention of Romanian newspapers on Monday as Rompetrol owner Dinu Patriciu thus becomes the country's richest man and a sure inclusion in the Forbes list of world's billionaires. The company was valued to 3,6 billion dollars, which would set Patriciu's share of profit to somewhere around 2.7 billion USD. No official figures have been released in this regard.

Evenimentul Zilei reports that Patriciu has negotiated the deal for seven months and the result is a contract worth more than the Romanian state received when it sold a key stake in the biggest oil company in the country, Petrom.

The Rompetrol deal is by far the most valuable ever in Romania, when it comes to private companies, topping the takeover of telecom operator Mobifon by Vodafone two years ago.

The newspaper reports that the Kazakh part was the first to announce the transaction while subsidiaries of the Rompetrol Group were still subject to trading at the Bucharest Stock Exchange on Monday at noon.

And it also insists that Patriciu will keep a 25% stake in the Rompetrol Group, through Swiss-based company Rompetrol Holding.

Cotidianul is more interested in the fact that businessman Patriciu will remain in charge with the management of the company.

It reminds that the deal was the result of a complex process that started early this year when the Romanian mogul received offers from several companies while opting not to reveal the size of the stake put on sale or the identity of the interested parties.

The paper also reviews the history of Rompetrol, a company launched in communist Romania in 1974 and that went through major ups and downs before reaching its current status as a top oil business in the region.

Meanwhile, Gandul returns to comparisons with the Petrom-OMV deal and underlines that the sale of the 75% stake in Rompetrol was three times more profitable than the sale of Romania's biggest company several years ago.

The paper also predicts that Dinu Patriciu has guaranteed himself a place in the Forbes list of world's billionaires, with a rank somewhere between 320 and 340.

Last but not least, Romania libera takes the issue lightly with a headline that recalls the political influence of Patriciu, one of Romania's most powerful businessmen: "Patriciu - better Kazakh than oligarch".

It quotes analysts according to whom the deal was excellent for both parties involved: the Romanian businessman received a huge amount of money, while KazMunayGaz entered the energy market of South-East Europe.

Also in the papers today:

Evenimentul Zilei reports that while in most western countries real estate properties are getting cheaper, homes become more and more expensive in Romania. It quotes real estate experts who claim prices are not expected to drop on the Romanian market in the next two or three years.

Cotidianul writes that Hungarian low-cost company Wizz Air is threatened to be banned from Bucharest's Baneasa Airport because its attitude towards passengers. The threat comes after Wizz Air sparked a huge scandal on Monday by annulling a flight to Rome.

• Also in Cotidianul, Romania contributes with a special helicopter to multinational efforts to contain devastating fires in Greece. It is the first time Romania uses the helicopter, according to the newspaper.

Romania libera reports that the presence of US troops at the Kogalniceanu air base near the Romanian Black Sea port city of Constanta comes as a blessing for the local economy. It reports that real estate, catering, tourism and other companies are hoping for huge gains for their potential services to the US soldiers.

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