The diversification of the shareholder structure of the OPCOM, in autumn

ALINA TOMA VEREHA (translated by Cosmin Ghidoveanu)
Ziarul BURSA #English Section / 1 iulie 2014

The diversification of the shareholder structure of the OPCOM, in autumn

The diversification of the shareholder structure of the operator of the Romanian energy exchange OPCOM, could begin this very autumn, several sources from the Department of Energy and from Transelectrica told us. The OPCOM is 100% owned by Transelectrica SA, which is the Romanian energy transmission system operator.

In February, 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, because the project should have been ready last year and had been agreed on since back in 2012, according to our sources, who told us that the IMF and the EC had rejected the merger of the OPCOM with the Bucharest Stock Exchange (BVB) as "unfeasible".

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

Our sources say: "The delays in the «privatization of the OPCOM» happened because of the infringement of the European Union and of the lawsuit that subsequently took place. The OPCOM was fined by the Commission.

Thus, in a first stage, starting in autumn, the diversification will be implemented by co-opting Transgaz, the operator of the national natural gas transmission system, into the company. Then the state-controlled energy companies will join the shareholder structure. In order for the diversification to take place, all the evaluations for the OPCOM must be done, to establish the price for which the shares will be sold. It is hard to tell whether this can be done starting in autumn because the coupling of the energy markets in Romania to the ones in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary must be done in November".

There are also voices that claim there are still disputes concerning the trading platforms managed by the OPCOM, which were acquired by the parent company - Transelectrica SA, several years ago: "A reassessment of the platforms was done to see whether a share capital increase can be made at the OPCOM. Essentially, Transelectrica will receive shares in the OPCOM, aside from the ones it has now, in exchange for the transfer of the trading platforms into the patrimony of the exchange operators. Except that many want for these shares in the OPCOM to be distributed to all the shareholders of Transelectrica in proportion with their holdings. There are many shareholders of Transelectrica that want to have holdings in the OPCOM".

Our sources also say that the authorities must be very careful on who they allow to become shareholders of the OPCOM and on the conditions they set in the call for bids, especially since the OPCOM will be a member of the regional energy exchange, which will be launched on November 11th.

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