Romania's Government is forced to apply a High Court decision according to which it has to sell shares in major oil company OMV Petrom, within a limit of 8% of its capital, to employees at the price recorded at the moment of the 2004 privatisation. The High Court decision was made on May 8, 2019, but has not been publicly communicated so far.

OMV PetromFoto: Facebook/ OMV Petrom

Senate speaker Calin Popescu Tariceanu, leader of ALDE, a junior member of the governing coalition along the Social Democrats, said on Monday that the issue of selling the Petrom shares would be discussed in the next session of the governing coalition.

For each day it fails to comply with the decision, a fine of RON1,000 is applied to the Romanian state.

The sale of the stock of up to 8% of Petrom's shares was established by the law for the privatisation of Petrom. But the Romanian state has postponed the moment as long as it could, considering that an organised crime case involving two former ministers also came about a decade ago.

By the time of the 2004 privatisation, the price paid by OMV was of EUR 0.05/share. It is now evaluated at Eur 0.08/share in RON equivalent, meaning that employees would buy Eur 0.03 cheaper shares.

But it is not clear what the 8% threshold means exactly, nor who would benefit - the employees at the moment of privatisation or employees of today?

  • In 2009, organised crime prosecutors indicted former ministers Codrut Seres and Zsolt Nagy with charges of joining an organised crime roup and treason. Both received prison sentences. Prosecutors' resolutions showed that ex-minister Seres had multiple meetings with Bulgarian citizen Stamen Stanchev to fix a bill due to be pushed at government level, regarding the sale of an 8% stake in Petrom in favor of an association of Petrom employees controlled by a controversial businessman, Liviu Luca. The bill was not adopted in the government due to the opposition of some ministers.