Update: Economy Ministry asks Transgaz, Transelectrica and Hidroelectrica to pay dividends. WB explains involvement in Ploiești-Brașov motorway project

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The Economy Ministry has asked Transgaz to convene an ordinary shareholders general meeting in order to approve the payment of dividends worth RON 171 million from the current amounts, a document sent to the Bucharest Stock exchange (BVB) informs.

Transelectrica has also been requested to pay dividends worth RON 170.7 million, whereas Hidroelectrica to pay RON 655 million as dividends, sources close to the state companies say. Hidroelectrica is owned by the state in s share of 80% and 20% belongs to Proprietatea Fund.

Transgaz, the technical national transmission network operator, was the third listed company, after Conpet and Romgaz, announcing that the Government has asked for money to the state budget as dividends, ziare.com informs.

Conpet was the second company after Romgaz to announce that the Energy Ministry has asked it to pay money to the state budget as special dividends. Conpet informed investors on Monday that it would convene the Shareholders General Meeting to approve the request of the Ministry in the coming period.

In its turn, Romgaz must approve quickly, at the request of the Energy Ministry, the distribution of RON 750 million as dividends. Romgaz issued a release last Friday to convene the Shareholders Meeting in order to discuss a request from the Energy Ministry to pay RON 750 million as dividends. Of this amount, the state would collect RON 525 million, the rest is to be collected by minority shareholders. Romgaz said it is a special dividend, as this year it has paid already RON 925 million out of a RON 1 billion profit for 2016.

These demands appear shortly after the former ANAF head, Gelu Stefan Diaconu, had accused Finance Minister Ionut Misa of “phoning the heads of state companies personally to get hundreds of millions of RON.”

PM Tudose: All state companies will pay dividends to the state budget

On Tuesday, PM Mihai Tudose said that all state companies will pay in advance dividends to the state budget, upon the Government request, to support future projects.

“Dividends are paid to the shareholders. Nobody has robbed them, nothing is taken from their rights. We are taking the money now, because we need them. We want to start some large projects such as the Brasov-Ploiesti (highway – our note). It is to be done with our money and we want to prove we have the money to start the project so that the World Bank becomes our partner in the project,” PM Tudose said.

He added that the decision will not influence the companies’ operations.

“If the dividends were paid to the state now or in six months, from their point of view it is the same thing. All companies have been contacted and the necessary funds until year end is considered and for the first months next year. All companies have found a solution: where the money is not involved (in projects) or if the forecasts did not reveal the need for it, the money is to be paid now,” the head of the government said.

World Bank plays down the enthusiasm

The World Bank has played down PM Tudose’s enthusiasm regarding the Ploiesti-Brasov highway, saying that for the time being talks are being conducted.

The WB says the talks with PM Tudose aimed at identifying the fields of cooperation with Romania, adding that a team led by Tatiana Proskuryakova, country manager for Romania, had a first meeting with PM Mihai Tudose.

The meeting was an opportunity to discuss the current partnership between the World Bank and Romania and to reiterate the bank’s support for the social-economic development priorities in the context of the strategy for country partnership during 2018-2023. PM Tudose has requested the WB support to complete the Ploiesti-Brasov highway. The means and specific sectors of cooperation are subject to ongoing discussions and are to be defined in partnership with the Romanian authorities in the near future, the World Bank informs.




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