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EXCLUSIVEThe IMF is asking for the acceleration of the privatization of the energy exchange

ALINA TOMA VEREHA (Translated by Cosmin Ghidoveanu)
Ziarul BURSA #English Section /

The IMF is asking for the acceleration of the privatization of the energy exchange

The IMF has rejected the plan of the exchange to merge with the BSE 

The foreign energy exchanges, interested in exchanging shares

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the European Commission (EC) have asked our authorities to accelerate the diversification of the shareholder structure of the OPCOM (the Romanian energy exchange which the state fully controls through Transelectrica), market sources told us. "The project was supposed to be ready last year and was agreed upon in 2012", our sources claim, which say that the IMF and the EC have rejected the merger of the OPCOM with the Bucharest Stock Exchange (BSE) as unfeasible.

In May, BURSA reported exclusively that a possible merger between the BSE and the OPCOM is an idea that is beginning to make the rounds, as the Romanian stock market heavily relies on the energy sector. At the time, sources close to the talks told us that it would make sense that the state and the brokers (ed. note: the shareholders of the exchange, in general) to manage together the two markets, according to the Polish model of success, with the shareholder structure to also include companies such as Transgaz, Transelectrica, Hidroelectrica or the Oltenia Energy Complex. "Such a decision would cause a major growth of the exchange market, which could become accessible to banks, investment funds and major brokers and could attract major industrial investors", our sources told us at the time.

In the energy market, the energy was received with great reluctance. Jean Constantinescu, a reputed specialist in the energy sector, former president of the ANRE (the energy market regulator) and former general manager of Transelectrica, recently told us that nowhere in Europe has such a project been implemented, that the BSE is a small fish compared to the European stock exchanges, whereas the OPCOM is a top energy exchange, an important player in the region, which has a real chance of leading the regional energy market".

Yesterday, sources close to the talks with the IMF told us: "The Monetary Fund and the European Commission want the energy exchange to be left standalone and that the only relationship it should have with the BSE should be the trading of derivatives based on the OPCOM indices. Except that, even though an agreement exists for developing energy derivatives between the OPCOM and the BSE, the latter did not do anything in that regard. Sibex didn't a much better job either".

According to the quoted sources, the model for the "privatization" of the OPCOM is the diversification of the shareholder structure in equal shares to the ones who are interested. Also, half of the shares will be offered to the players involved in the energy market, and the other half - to the operators from the natural gas market. There are also voices that say that major energy exchanges in Europe are interested in exchanging shares with the OPCOM, as part of the shareholder diversification process.

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