RPG, which is controlled by businessman Dinu Patriciu, last week announced it has submitted a letter of interest to the Serbian authorities stating its intention to take part in the company's privatization.
“There are major similarities between RPG's and NIS's operations and a potential integration would result in significant advantages for both parts,” reads a Rompetrol press release.
NIS is among the last state-run petroleum companies in Southeastern Europe and a take-over target for other regional players aside from Rompetrol, such as the Austrian company OMV, Hungary's MOL or Poland's PKN Orlen.
The head of PKN Orlen announced two weeks ago that he was interested in the privatization of NIS, given the company's intention to expand in the region.
The Serbian state last year announced its intention to sell a 25 percent stake in NIS to a strategic investor in exchange for roughly EUR 250 million, according to accounts in the international press. The latest information on the market says the Serbian state is looking to sell a controlling stake in the company of around 37 percent. The remaining stock will be divided among the Serbian state – around 35 percent, pension funds and other investors.
RPG had an annual turnover of about EUR 5 billion and about 8,000 employees in around 13 European countries. Rompetrol Rafinare, the main Romanian subsidiary of the group operating the Petromidia refinery, reached a market capitalization of EUR 606.2 million last week. The group announced plans to build an operations bridge between the Balkan region and the French-Spanish Atlantic coast, the two growth drivers of the petroleum business. NIS is the first step taken in developing in this direction.
Last autumn, Patriciu said he was willing to raise funds to expand the Rompetrol group by selling a 10-35 percent stake in the group to an investor.
Last December, Rompetrol announced it would expand into the energy market. Patriciu said RPG will start providing electricity after investing EUR 40-44 million in a power plant.
The construction project is yet to be completed, but work is scheduled to start next year and last for 18 months, said Patriciu. The 110-megawatt power plant will cover the needs of the Petromidia refinery and Rompetrol gas stations. Some of the energy will be sold to the national grid.