Romania to hike gas price by 8%, privatise electricity distributor - report.

By bne IntelliNews September 21, 2011
Romania will hike the price of natural gas for commercial users by 8% immediately and will speed up the privatisation of regional electricity distribution firm Electrica Transilvania Nord, Adevarul daily reported, quoting the leaked Letter of Intent, drafted by the government for the IMF. The gas price hike would reportedly be endorsed by the market regulator this week. The government's officials consulted the Fund's experts during an informal meeting last week, the daily reads. An expert IMF team is expected in October for the regular quarterly review under the stand-by agreement. PM advisor, Andrea Vass, confirmed the meeting last week, but did not comment on the agenda. IntelliNews Comment : The two steps announced by the daily, probably only two of the several discussed with the IMF staff, indicate the government's efforts to make up for the sluggish implementation of certain reforms, pledged under the SBA. The natural gas price hike was previously announced by the government as part of the market liberalisation strategy. But the government is expected to present a roadmap for phasing out regulated prices in electricity and gas by the end of September. Electrica Transilvania Nord is monitored under the SBA with the IMF, but the plans as revealed by past documents of the agreement were for preparing its privatisation, rather than selling it quickly, as the daily suggests. The change might indicate that failure in public offering at some companies, as it was the case with the 10% stake in OMV Petrom, might force the government to speed up other deals.

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