State secretary in the Economy Ministry Tudor Serban believes that minor Oltchim shareholder, namely the German group PCC SE, wants to see the company bankrupt. "These are the people to be thrown out of the country. You can't do business with these type of people", Tudor Serban told HotNews.ro. The reaction follows the fact that PCC SE salutes the decision of the European Commission to start an investigation regarding the 49.6 million euros state guaranty Oltchim received.
PCC SE did not hide its joy greeting the European commission's decision to launch an investigation on the state help Oltchim received. "PCC SE salutes the European commission's decision. This decision confirms the worries expressed by PCC SE repeatedly during the last months, regarding the fact that the Romanian state measures to help Oltchim might breech the European regulations", a PCC SE communiqué shows.
Tudor Serban: They are probably interested to see the plant bankrupt
Economy Ministry representatives believe that it is in the PCC SE interest to see Oltchim going bankrupt, so that the company could buy the plant for less. "They are probably interested in this company's bankruptcy. What can you say when they rejoice when a solution for Oltchim's stability is not right?", Tudor Serban said. He claims that, according to the privatisation laws, they "would be the first to hold the right to buy [the plant]". Tudor Serban believes that the legislation should be changed from this point of view.
The Economy Ministry is the major shareholder in Oltchim and is leading an open war with PCC SE. Everything started when Oltchim intended to buy the petrochimistry activity from Arpechim, Petrochemicals Arges, which belongs to Petrom. Petrom agrees with the transactions, but the minor Oltchim shareholder tries to block it by all sort of means. This might be related with the fact that the German group showed interest in the past in Petrochemicals Arges.
The Government approved of a mechanism to contract a credit of 339.2 million euros to help Oltchim. 80% of its worth will be guaranteed by the state. The Eximbank inter-ministerial commission approved Oltchim to be granted a state guaranty worth of 49.6 million euros to buy the petrochimistry from Arpechim. Shortly after, PCC SE forwarded to the court a petition requesting the cancellation the Eximbank state guaranty decision. The court rejected the request, in favour of Oltchim.
Tudor Serban claims that, following the European Commission's decision, "the Romanian state needs to provide additional documents to support its position and to demonstrate that this investment will increase the plant's efficiency that it will start to record profit". Tudor Serban opinionated that another solution to get Oltchim out of its present situation would be "to find a partner that would bring capital". But the state secretary believes that such a partner is difficult to find.
Oltchim is currently working at a reduced capacity. Oltchim's activity depends greatly on Arpechim refinery. Starting with November 2008, Petrom ceased ethylene and propene deliveries to Oltchim. Therefore, this society cannot function to its normal standards, recording high constant losses.
Oltchim Ramnicu Valcea recorded losses of 172.51 million lei during the first nine months of the year, six times the losses from the same period last year.