Petrom buys twice the volume of oil to offset stagnating production

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Petrom Bucharest (SNP), the largest Romanian company, bought oil and oil products worth 2 billion RON (545 million euros) from other companies in the Austrian OMV group (its majority shareholders) in the first half.
The acquisitions are double the volume of the corresponding period last year, when they reached 1 billion RON (285 million euros).
On the other hand, Petrom sales to other companies in the group went up by a mere 15% and reached 374 million RON (102 million euros) in the first half.
 
The biggest deals conducted by Petrom with companies in the group are the acquisition of oil from OMV Supply & Trading, a company registered in Switzerland, worth 1.68 billion RON (460 million euros), and the acquisition of oil products from OMV Refining & Marketing, worth 209 million RON (57 million euros).
 
Under the circumstances, Petrom's net imports in the first six months amounted to almost 500 million euros, which accounted for some 5% of Romania's trade deficit and amounted to 10 billion euros in the first half.
The increase in the value of Petrom's imports was, first of all, caused by the hike in oil prices (by 75%) in the first half of 2008 on average compared with the corresponding period of 2007. Although it does have around 1.43 billion barrels of oil and natural gas reserves, Petrom has stabilized production at around 190,000 barrels a day lately, informs Ziarul financiar.
 
Company officials say it would take a great deal of investment to boost production. The demand surplus is covered by imports from the majority shareholder, which, however, has half the reserves of Petrom (some 600 million barrels).
 
OMV took over the 51% majority interest in Petrom in 2004 for some 1.47 billion euros, 669 million euros of which accounted for the price paid to the Romanian state for 33%, whilst the remaining 801 million euros contributed towards the share capital; money that stayed in the company. Petrom's oil and gas reserves are now valued at approximately 17 billion euros, according to a Raiffeisen Centrobank report.
 
Over the last three years, OMV collected some 400 million euros from Petrom in dividends, and could get another 300 million euros this year, given that Petrom's profit could exceed 1 billion euros for the first time and the Austrian group could choose to disburse 60% of the profit in the form of dividends as it did last year. OMV would therefore get back the money it paid to the Romanian state to buy Petrom in just four years.
Petrom is currently worth 6.8 billion euros on the Stock Exchange, with OMV's stake valued at 3.4 billion euros.
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