Moldavia to sell state-owned shares of Moldova-Gaz shares in 2000

Aug 28, 1999 02:00 AM

Moldavia is planning to sell the state-owned shares of the joint Moldova-Gaz company in the year 2000, Viktor Bodyu, deputy director of the Moldavian privatisation department, said.
The Moldova-Gaz company, set up in April 1999, includes the entire Moldavian gas industry. 51 % of its shares are owned by Gazprom, 35 % by the Moldavian government and 14 % by the administration of the self-proclaimed Pridnestrovye republic.
"The shares will not necessarily be sold to Gazprom," Bodyu said. "They can be sold to any other investor which has interest in the industry," he added.

Gazprom is one of Moldavia's main creditors. The republic imports about 3 bn cm of gas annually, but pays only for a small amount of its purchases. Its gas debt amounts to $ 700 mm, most of which is to be paid by Pridnestrovye.
Gazprom director Rem Viakhirev has already warned the Moldavian administration this year that the company will reduce gas supplies to the republic if it does not receive full payment for its production.

In order to cover some of the debt, the Moldavian government paid Gazprom $ 230 mm in seven-year securities at 7.5 % of annual interest. In May 1999, it bought out the securities for $ 140 mm ahead of schedule. According to sources in the government, the shares were bought "at a very beneficial price," which did not exceed 40 % of their cost value.
The government borrowed money from the Bank Credit Commercielle de France to pay for the shares. The terms of the loan are kept secret, but it became known that its annual interest rate does not exceed 10 %.
According to information from the French embassy, French investors have become very active in Moldova, especially in the sphere of communications, energy industry and production of cement.

Source: Itar-Tass via Newspage
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