Petrom may launch a company dedicated to petrochemical businesses this year, concentrating all activities at the Arpechim Arges plant in southern Romania, a company press release issued on Tuesday says. Arpechim is one of the two refineries under Petrom control, along with Petrobrazi in Ploiesti, north of Bucharest.

The new company, to be named Petrochemical Arges will be established as Petrom tries to split its refining and chemical operations. Petrochemical Arges may start operations in the second half of 2007.

The Bucharest Stock Exchange suspended trading with Petrom shares shortly before the closing bell to protect investors and allow equal access to information.

Still, later on Tuesday Petrom returned with a correction, saying the establishment of a new petrochemical company was still under consideration and a final decision in this regard is yet to be made.