The Romanian Savings House-CEC social capital reached 650 million RON following a capital boost of 500 million RON (about 150 million euro) organized by the Finance Ministry on December 29, a CEC press release issued this week says. It is the first such boost since 1989 and it came shortly after the Bucharest Government ordered a halt to the CEC privatization.

The capital increase and the 2006 financial results improved CEC’s funds to reach about 1,200 million RON, the equivalient of 17% of the total assets by the end of last year.

In 1996-2006, the bank contributed to the state budget with a profit tax and dividends totaling some 200 million euro.

The Competition Council said it expected more details about the capital infusion to prove it was not about public funds assistance to a state company.

By the end of 2006, the Government ordered the privatization of CEC be halted after one of the potential buyers, Hungarian bank OTP decided to withdraw its bid while a second, the National Bank of Greece, offered 560 million euro for 69.9% of the company. The head of the privatization commission, Finance minister Sebastian Vladescu, considered the offer as too small.