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Administrators pick three contenders to put in bids on assets Romania's Oltchim

By: Richard Higgs

25 October 2017

Romania’s troubled state run PVC and chemicals company Oltchim took a hesitant step forward last week as administrators of the insolvent firm named three serious bidders for its assets.
The bidders, two Romanian industrial companies and an international investment firm, were selected from nine potential buyers who made offers for packages of Oltchim assets in a revived sale process.
Leading the list is local chemicals producer Chimcomplex Borzesti, a previous failed auction bidder for all of the Oltchim business four years ago.
Owned by Romanian entrepreneur Stefan Vuza, it wants to acquire five asset packages including the chlor-alkali, oxo-alcohols and propylene oxide polyols operations, along with part of Oltchim’s vinyl chloride monomer and PVC capacity.   
Also in the running is local PVC profiles and accessories distributor Dynamic Selling Group SRL. In 2013 the Galaţi, Romania-based firm bought some assets of Oltchim’s PVC profiles business Ramplast and is now its distributor.
Dynamic Selling Group is understood to want to acquire the PVC profile processing operations of Ramplast still controlled by the insolvent chemicals group.
The third bidder is the investment firm White Tiger Wealth Management Ltd. of London, with offices in New York, Hong Kong and San Marino. It also has its eye on acquiring Oltchim’s chlor-alkali manufacturing business.
Conditional sale contracts are still subject to the approval of Oltchim’s creditors with a view to completing the asset disposal in the first half of 2018. Creditors have until late November to consider the offer price and contracts, according to the Oltchim administrators. Meanwhile, discussions are understood to be continuing with other bidders.
Chimcomplex’s owner is reported to be aiming to set up a large, regional chemical industry player, Compania Română de Chimie in a bid to relaunch Romania’s chemical industry. Chimcomplex group is said to have assets already worth €120m.  
Oltchim based at Râmnicu-Vâlcea in central southern Romania was declared insolvent in early 2013. The company is understood to have posted an €8.1m gross profit in the six months to June 2017, a rise of 50% on the year while the turnover rose 27% on the year to €105.8m.
Romania’s government holds the controlling 54.8% stake in Oltchim while the German-Polish chemicals producer PCC group retains a 32.3% share in the company.
The Romanian company, formerly the country’s biggest chemicals operation, is the only national producer of chlorine and polyether polyols and the sole liquid caustic soda manufacturer in Central Europe.
Several previous attempts to privatise Oltchim’s assets since 2013 have failed either through a lack of purchaser interest or the withdrawal of bidders prior to sale.