Azeri energy company Socar is interested in buying a stake in Romanian oil group Rompetrol as the two parties are working on a deal by which Socar would supply some 1 million barrels of oil monthly to Rompetrol, Reuters informs.
The news comes as Rompetrol president Dinu Patriciu announced in late March that he was holding talks with six companies interested in taking over a minority state in the group through a capital boost that would allow the investor to take over between 10-25% of its shares.
But the Reuters report was dismissed by Hamza Carimov, a representative of the Azeri state-controlled Socar group to Romania. Carimov told HotNews.ro on Monday that he did not know of such an accord or about a possible plan by Socar to buy Rompetrol shares.
The Azeri media has been speculating about a recent visit paid by Romanian Liberal Senator Mihai Lupoi to Baku. Reports claim the visit allowed for a deal that would have Rompetrol buy oil from Socar. But Senator Lupoi also dismissed the information in a statement for HotNews.ro on Monday. He said he visited the country as deputy head of a Romanian parliament group dealing with NATO issues.
Patriciu’s influence with the governing National Liberal Party (PNL) was a source of major controversy in the ongoing political crisis in Romania.
Still, according to the Socar website, Lupoi was accompanied in his visit to Azerbaijan by Lucian Budac, executive head of Vector Energy, a company of the Rompetrol group.
Iulian Panait, a broker with KTD Invest, told HotNews.ro that the evolution of Rompetrol on the Bucharest Stock Exchange would depend heavily on the quality of the future shareholder if such a transaction takes place.
“If it’s a big company, it will improve the notoriety of the Romanian company and turn it more attractive for foreign investment funds”, Panait said.
For his part, analyst Emil Stoica believes that Rompetrol might be interested in concluding a partnership with a drilling company such as Socar as the Romanian group’s main activities are related to oil processing and distribution.
But as unofficial information speaks of six companies interested in taking over a stake in Rompetrol, Stoica told HotNews.ro he would not exclude the possibility of the stake being bought by a financial investor.