Ten companies have expressed interest in buying a controlling stake in Romania’s national postal service, minister Dan Nica has said.
The identities of the interested parties is being kept confidential, but the process now moves into a pre-qualification process, with proposals due by 11th April.
The Romanian government decided back in December to offer a 51% stake in Posta Romana, having previously floated the idea of selling off a minority stake in order to bring in an injection of external cash to help reinvigorate the business in the newly liberalised Romanian postal market.
Ministers outlined their requirements for the bidding process today, setting out measures designed to keep out unsuitable investors.
Investors need to prove their financial solvency and that they have the capabilities to provide at least EUR 150m in capital to Romanian Post. They will also have to show they’ve never been “unreliable” in a government privatisation process before.
The government is selling copies of the pre-qualification criteria for the auction process for EUR 50,000 each, and companies entering the bidding process will have to pay a EUR 2.2m guarantee along with the submission of their presentations.
“Strong, credible, professional”
Nica said the government’s advisors, KPMG had carefully defined the pre-qualification and selection criteria.
“We decided to organise a selection process by which we can identify a strong, credible and professional investor who can make a financial contribution and brings considerable expertise,” he said.
“Romanian Post will have the potential for development and recovery as soon as we have successfully completed the privatisation process.”
Romanian media have suggested the pre-qualification criteria has been drafted to keep media tycoon and presidential candidate Dan Diaconescu from the running, after a major row with the government following a successful bid for state-owned chemical company Oltchim saw the whole privatisation process scrapped last year.
Postal operators from Austria, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Sweden and the UK have been reported as interested in Romanian Post.
At present the company is 75% owned by the Romanian state directly, with a 25% stake owned by a government-controlled investment fund.
Romanian Post has a network of about 7,100 post offices, with a work force of about 32,000 people.
Source: Post&Parcel/Romanian Ministry of Communications